Does Medicare Cover Massage Therapy? 

A massage is considered to be both a relaxing way to relieve stress, but they aren’t just for spa days. Massages can also be used as a part of treatments to reduce muscle pains after a strain, injury, or other medical condition. If your doctor suggests that a massage will help reduce pain or improve a condition, you may be concerned about the costs. If you’re signed up for Medicare, will massages be covered? 

The health benefits of massage therapy

Many proponents of massage therapy claim that massages increase energy and improve circulation. Additionally, massage therapy is thought to lower heart rate and blood pressure in some cases. If you’re electing to get a massage, it’s unlikely that Medicare will cover the costs. If it is included in doctor-prescribed physical therapy, you may have coverage. 

How does Medicare cover massage therapy?

Medicare insurance is healthcare coverage that is available to seniors and some disabled individuals in America. In order to qualify for Medicare coverage, you will need to be at least 65 or have a qualifying medical condition like end-stage renal disease under the age of 65. Medicare benefits pay for many medical services, including doctor visits, surgery and diagnostic testing. In addition, Medicare coverage is available for some services related to wellness, like nutritional counseling and physical therapy.

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not provide a specific benefit for massage therapy. Medicare views massage therapy as a lifestyle treatment, and Medicare benefits do not cover these types of elective services. 

Medicare may, however, cover massage if it is provided during a physical therapy session that has been ordered by a Medicare-participating physician. In the event that you receive some light massage during the course of a physical therapy session, Medicare coverage will apply to the service.

Physical therapy is generally covered by Medicare insurance under Part B, the outpatient benefit. This is optional coverage that includes a monthly premium. You must meet your plan’s deductible in order to utilize your Medicare benefits. Your care provider must also accept assignment.

Does Medicare Advantage cover massage therapy?

Although Original Medicare insurance does not provide a dedicated benefit for massage therapy, a Medicare Advantage plan may offer additional benefits toward massage services. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover the same services and treatments as Original Medicare, but Medicare Advantage plan providers have more flexibility to offer additional benefits that are not included in Original Medicare.

You may find that some Medicare Advantage plans will either offer benefits that will discount or provide access to a gym membership that may offer massage therapy. Massage services may be available on a fee-for-service basis, but the discounted gym membership may help to offset these costs.

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