Many patients over the years have asked if Medicare covers acupuncture, and to this point, the answer has always been no. Now some medicare patients pay for secondary insurance such as United or Humana which will cover acupuncture, however not every medicare patient has access to those policies.
Now a new policy change is going to allow for acupuncture to be studied in the medicare community for patients that have chronic low back pain. The government wants to finally study on a trial basis whether or not patients benefit from acupuncture for chronic low back pain to see if it can be a viable tool to help combat the opioid crisis and over prescription of medication to many patients. It’s reported that low back pain in the medicare population is one of the biggest reasons for excessive opioid prescriptions, so utilizing acupuncture should be able to bring that usage down significantly.
Currently, the only patients that are going to be covered are patients that are enrolled in clinical trials sponsored by the National Institute of Health but in the future, the implications are that if things go well, they would open up the use of acupuncture to most/all medicare patients for the treatment of chronic low back pain, and potentially more in the future.
There is no telling how long this will all take to study and make a determination on, but it could be a quick process or may take years from this point going forward. Hopefully however they will make a quick determination one way or another.
Click the link below to go directly to the press release regarding the new policy, and I will keep you updated on any changes or progress that is being made.
And if you have any questions about acupuncture and your insurance, or with medicare, or your medicare supplemental insurance, feel free to call me at (360) 892-4355 or email me at [email protected]
All the best,