Medicare Covers Chiropractic Care For Seniors
Chiropractic care became a covered benefit under Medicare Part B on July 1, 1973. Passed by the House of Representatives in an overwhelming vote of 305 to 1 and in the Senate by 60 to 0, the bill was signed by President Nixon the previous year.
Eligible patients must be 65 years of age or older and have a specific, symptomatic musculoskeletal complaint. Strangely, Medicare requires that chiropractors conduct an initial examination of the patient, but refuses to compensate chiropractors for it. Medical doctors have the same requirement, however they are reimbursed for it. Similarly, medical doctors can opt out of Medicare; however, chiropractors may not!
Chiropractic Coverage By Medicare Has Limitations
Medicare coverage is limited to seniors who have a subluxation (demonstrated on X-ray or some other means), which results in a painful neuromusculoskeletal condition that limits the patient from engaging in routine activities of daily living.
Medicare only covers the costs to correct the subluxation through manual manipulation (adjustment). Other diagnostics, therapies, supplements or rehab procedures may be pleasant, even helpful, but they arent covered benefits.
Thankfully, there are no caps or limits on the number of visits to a chiropractor that a Medicare patient may obtain. However, it must be proven that the visits are continuing to produce improvement or that there is a reasonable hope for continued improvement.
This raises the issue of chiropractic maintenance or wellness care and Medicare. Read on…