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Acupuncture

Covered by Medicare

Coverage

Acupuncture is a technique where practitioners stimulate specific points on the body, most often by inserting thin needles through the skin.

Medicare Part B covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic low back pain.

Chronic low back pain is defined as:

  • Lasting 12 weeks or longer
  • Having no identifiable systemic cause (not associated with metastatic, inflammatory, or infectious disease)
  • Pain that’s not associated with surgery or pregnancy

An additional 8 sessions will be covered if you show improvement. If your doctor decides your chronic low back pain isn’t improving or is getting worse, then Medicare will no longer cover your treatments. No more than 20 acupuncture treatments can be given yearly.

Costs

Costs details aren’t yet available for this benefit. Check medicare.gov for updates.

What to Know

Acupuncture must be given by a doctor, or by another healthcare provider (such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) who has a masters or doctoral-level degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a current, full, active, and unrestricted license to practice acupuncture in the state where care is being provided.

Medicare By State

Medicare is regulated by the federal government. However, private insurance companies are allowed to offer various parts of Medicare, and these plans can differ from state to state.

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