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.

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