Chiropractic treatment is a covered benefit in virtually all traditional insurance policies. In addition:
- Chiropractic care is available to members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases in the U.S., and more than 60 Veteran’s Administration (VA) medical facilities.
- Federal employees have chiropractic coverage in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program and in the Federal Employee Worker’s Compensation Program.
- All 50 states have authorized the provision of chiropractic care under state workers’ compensation laws.
- Chiropractic services are included in the Railroad Retirement Act.
- The Internal Revenue Service includes chiropractic services as a valid medical deduction.
Medicare is the federally sponsored fee-for-service health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older and certain younger people with disabilities. Medicare beneficiaries may choose the services of any care provider whose services are recognized by Medicare. Traditional Medicare has two Parts: Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (general medical insurance).
Since their 1972 inclusion in the Medicare program, doctors of chiropractic have been recognized as physicians, but only for spinal manipulation. Although many Medicare procedures are within the scope of practice of doctors of chiropractic, no other diagnostic or therapeutic service furnished by a DC is considered a covered service. With no valid scientific or policy basis, existing Medicare law has negatively impacted patients, making it harder for them to access non-drug treatments for pain that could potentially steer them away from prescription pain medications and surgery. With your help, that’s about to change.
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act was reintroduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1610) and the U.S. Senate (S. 799) in the 118th Congress. This bipartisan bill would enable seniors to have access to all Medicare-covered benefits allowable under a chiropractor’s state licensure. While it expands access for beneficiaries, the bill does not add any new services to Medicare (nor does it remove any current services covered by Medicare). It simply enables beneficiaries to choose which qualified provider they prefer to receive their covered services from.
At the same time, as several chiropractic cost-effectiveness studies have shown, the bill has the potential to reduce costs for many of the conditions that chiropractors address for their senior patients. It will also mean fewer out-of-pocket costs and logistical hassles for seniors — no more getting adjusted by your chiropractor and then having to schedule another appointment, on another day, with a different provider, for a service that their chiropractor is licensed to provide and could have effectively rendered at the time of the first appointment.
Chiropractic services are part of the standard medical benefits package available to all eligible veterans. Similar to other specialties, access to VA chiropractic services is by referral from a VA primary care or specialty provider.