Will Health Insurance Pay for Massages?

There is nothing more relaxing than a massage. It works out those kinks and can completely relieve stress and tension. But, while massages can be very relaxing, they can also be medically necessary. In fact, there are several medical treatments that can benefit from massage therapy. These conditions can include insomnia, anxiety, and neuropathy (nerve pain). The medical benefits of massage therapy are many, and include improved circulation, decreased stress, and reduced pain. And then there’s also the fact that a massage can completely rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.

With all of the benefits that massage therapy can provide, wouldn’t it be wonderful if your insurance provider assisted with the cost?

Before you book your next massage, contact your health insurance provider, because there is a chance that they may cover the cost.

Massage Therapy and Insurance

health insurance covers massagesYou might be surprised to learn that your insurance provider might actually cover the cost of massage therapy. But, don’t just automatically assume that your next massage will be covered. As with all things related to health insurance coverage, there are rules that apply and restrictions.

For instance, some health insurance providers will cover the cost of massage therapy, but the massage has to be done by a licensed chiropractor. Other health insurance providers might cover only a portion of massage therapy treatments; the first 30 minutes of treatment, for example.

You can find out if your insurance plan will cover the cost of your massage therapy by simply examining your policy and finding out exactly what it covers. You can also contact your insurance agent to find out if your coverage does, in fact, include massage therapy.

Physician Prescribed Massages

There are many instances when a physician might decide to prescribe massage therapy for a patient. Some of the most common conditions that massage therapy is used to treat include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Migraines
  • Digestive disorders
  • Stress-related insomnia
  • Sprains
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
  • Chronis pins and needles

If your doctor does prescribe massage therapy as a treatment for any condition, your insurance carrier may cover the cost of the treatment. Depending on your insurance provider and the need for the treatment, your plan might cover the entire cost of massage therapy, or it may cover a portion of it. If you are covered by workers’ compensation and are suffering from a work-related injury, your employer’s insurance will likely cover the cost of massage therapy. The same is true if you were involved in a car accident that was someone else’s fault; the at-fault driver’s insurance may pay for the cost of massage therapy.

Insurance Doesn’t Always Cover Massage Therapy

While countless studies have proven that massage therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, unfortunately, some disconnect does exist. Many massage therapists have a difficult time obtaining financial reimbursement from insurance providers. Because of this, many massage therapists will not accept health insurance, and instead, they will require their patients to pay for the cost upfront, out of their own pocket. If that’s the case and your insurance does cover massage therapy, you could file a claim with your insurance provider to obtain reimbursement for your treatment.

Is Massage Therapy Always Covered by Health Insurance?

While many private insurance companies will cover the cost of massage therapy treatments (remember, there are stipulations and you might have to prove that it’s medically necessary or your physician may have to prescribe the treatment), massage therapy isn’t always covered by health insurance.

Generally, HMOs and Medicare will not cover the cost of massage therapy. If you carry this type of health insurance, you may have to seek other ways to seek reimbursement for your treatments.

The Cost of Massage Therapy without Insurance

It’s difficult to say how much massage therapy will cost without insurance. The type of treatment that is needed, the condition that is being treated, and the duration of each treatment session are all factors that can affect the cost of massage therapy. Also, the area in which the massage is being given can impact the cost.

However, in general, the average cost of a 1 hour massage therapy session can range from $80 to more than $100. If you are in need of regular treatments, the cost can be extremely high.

The Bottom Line

If you are in need of massage therapy and it is considered medically necessary, or the treatment has been prescribed by your physician, there is a chance that your treatments will be covered by your healthcare provider. Speak to a reputable insurance agent to find out if your massage therapy will be completely, or at least partially, covered by your health insurance.

Other Answer – Will Health Insurance Pay For Massages?

Getting a massage can be one of the best experiences of your day. When you have aches and pains, sore muscles and you just feel like you are out of energy, a massage can be just what the doctor ordered. But massages can be expensive, which makes many people wonder if their health insurance will pay for massages. The surprising answer is that in some cases your insurance company may actually agree to do so. Let’s go through the relationship between massage therapy and health insurance, as well as get into the situations where your insurance company might pay for.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Massage

There are definitely some therapeutic benefits to massage. For those who have had a serious injury or have chronic pain, a massage can do wonders. Just having a massage a few times a week can relax muscles and reduce chronic pain. There have been a number of studies conducted that showed the massage has actual therapeutic benefits. However, most insurance companies still regarded as something you do to treat yourself rather than a medical procedure. That’s what you will find that most of them will not cover massage therapy in their health insurance plans.

Insurance & Regular Massages

Regular massage is usually not covered in regular health insurance plans. Most health insurance plans do not mention them at all, and the ones that do specifically say that they are not recognized medical procedures or necessary procedures and the insurance company doesn’t have to pay those bills. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. In some cases, especially if there is no mention of it in the paperwork, the health insurance company may approve payment for massage. This is extremely rare, but if you do not ask then you will never find out for sure.

Insurance & Massages for Therapy

However, even if your insurance company does not normally cover massages, if they are specifically added to your treatment by your doctor for physical therapy after an injury then your insurance company may not have any choice but to pay for them. In these cases, massage therapy is short-term only. You may get weekly massages for a period of weeks that your insurance company has to pay for, but it will not become a permanent thing even if you end up having a permanent disability. Physical therapy is usually temporary, and if your paperwork says that your insurance covers the costs of physical therapy treatment, then massage may be covered as well.

Massage & Chiropractic Care

Another exception might be for chiropractic care. When it comes to chiropractic care, insurance plans vary a great deal from one to another as to whether or not they will cover it. Some will cover basic chiropractic care while others are more comprehensive. There is one thing to keep in mind, however, and that is that most chiropractic offices do not employ a massage therapist. You will have to find a chiropractor that has a massage therapist on staff if you want your insurance company to pay for your massages when you go in for chiropractic appointments. These types of massages are usually a supplemental treatment for whatever back alignment adjustment you had that day.

Other Ways to Save Money on Massage

There are other ways that you can save money on massage therapy. You can often purchase packages in advance that will allow you to save money on the cost of a single massage by buying say six in a row or another such package. You can also look for discounted massage rates and coupons online. Trying out new massage therapists will almost always save you money because they are willing to offer new customers a discount to try them out. You may be able to join a rewards program with a certain massage therapist where they give you a free massage after buying a certain number of them kind of like a copy punchcard. Finally, you can often save money on massages when you bundle spa services. While you might pay $60 for massage by itself, bundling it with a facial, a manicure and pedicure, and an eyebrow wax for $125 total with save you a great deal of money.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you should check your insurance policy to find out if massage therapy is covered. If not, then it is often worth paying for yourself, especially if you have back problems or chronic pain. A regular massage can be an amazing benefit for your physical and mental health, and if you can get your insurance company to pay for it then you will be in a much better position financially as well. There is never any harm in asking.

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