The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act

Legislation to increase Medicare coverage of chiropractic services has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. For almost 50 years, Medicare beneficiaries have only been covered for one chiropractic service: manual manipulation of the spine.

Lack of Medicare coverage means seniors and other Medicare patients who require services are forced to either pay their chiropractors out of pocket or visit a provider whose standard procedures may involve drugs, or other treatment options that are often unnecessary.

The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (S. 4042/H.R. 2654) would allow Medicare beneficiaries access to the chiropractic profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management, which includes manual manipulation of the spine and extremities, evaluation and management services, diagnostic imaging and utilization of other non-drug approaches that have become an important strategy in national efforts to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse. While the bill increases access options for Medicare beneficiaries, it does not add any new services or remove services currently covered under Medicare.

Recent studies show that access to chiropractic care can save money for the healthcare system, particularly when compared to prescriptions and surgery. The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act is bipartisan legislation addressing a nationwide issue. Access to chiropractic care will benefit more than 55 million Americans.

Research

The effect of increasing access to chiropractic services in Medicare is likely to be both real and substantial among
Medicare beneficiaries age 65+, resulting in better care outcomes, fewer adverse events, and lower cost of care.

Greater availability of chiropractic care reduces costs for spine-related conditions:

    • Access to chiropractic care in Medicare can reduce visits to primary care providers by 0.37 million visits, at a
      savings of $83.5 million annually.1
    • Conversely, reduced access to chiropractic services increases visits to primary care physicians (32.3 visits
      per 1,000) and the rate of spine surgeries (5.5 additional surgeries per 1,000). This equates to an additional
      expense of $391 million to Medicare annually.2

More research: 

Take Action

It is vital that your federal representative hears from patients about the importance of increased access to chiropractic care. Urge your representative to co-sponsor S. 4042/H.R. 2654 and thank them for their support of Medicare patients.

 

Visit acatoday.org/TakeAction to send a letter or call your representative at 202-224-3121 and tell them to “Cosponsor S. 4042/H.R 2654.”

 

Resources

  1. Davis MA, Yakusheva O, Gottlieb DJ, Bynum JP. Regional Supply of Chiropractic Care and Visits to Primary
    Care Physicians for Back and Neck Pain. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine: JABFM.
    2015;28(4):481-90.
  2. Davis M, Yakusheva O, Liu H, Anderson B, Bynum J. The Effect of Reduced Access to Chiropractic Care on
    Medical Service Use for Spine Conditions Among Older Adults. Journal of manipulative and physiological
    therapeutics. 2021;44(5):353-62.

To learn more,  please contact the American Chiropractic Association Department of Public Policy and Advocacy at 703-812-0228 or [email protected], or visit acatoday.org/advocacy