Medicare Coverage of Massage Therapy

What It Is

Outpatient massage therapy

What's Covered

Medicare doesn't cover massage therapy.

Note: An exception might be made for a very limited amount of massage therapy provided as part of Medicare Part B-covered physical therapy.

If you have a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan: Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans, must cover everything that's included in original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. But sometimes a Part C plan covers more, with extra services or an expanded amount of coverage. (Co-payments for Part C plans may also be different than those for Part A or Part B.) To find out whether your plan provides extra coverage or requires different co-payments for massage therapy, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

Medicare pays nothing for massage therapy.

Important: Regardless of the rules regarding any particular type of care, in order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care must meet two basic requirements:

  • The care must be "medically necessary." This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care is necessary and proper. For help getting your care covered, see FAQ: How Can I Increase the Odds That Medicare Will Cover My Medical Service?

  • The care must be performed or delivered by a healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.

Was this medicareinformation helpful?

5 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

2 months ago

Does anyone know of an organized group trying to lobby congress and SS to get this changed so that massage will be covered by medicare. I am in desperate need and this is wrong that they wont cover. Surgery and body non function is much more costly.

7 months ago

Years ago I contacted US Senator Graham who checked on the question I posed to him, 'Why does Medicare refuse to allow reimbursement to a licensed massage practitioner when the service is deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a treating physician (who is a Medicare provider). He wrote back to me after checking and said in order for massage therapists to become Medicare Providers it would take an act of Congress and would have to go through the SS Administration. I am livid after being able to accept insurance from many avenues for 29 years and still unable to provide it with reimbursement for those most in need to prevent many ailments and to help others when nothing else helps. It is sickening that they will pay for surgery's, medications and other non effective services when the hands on touch and work of a well trained massage therapist can make a huge difference. My self, now on Medicare sure could use massage therapy for many issues. Just today, working muscle therapy on my own knee I averted a doctors appointment that may have lead to xrays, MRI or even eventually surgery. Most Medicare recipients are not massage therapists who can help themselves.

8 months ago

I agree with the statement above. Massage helps my fibromyalgia and lupus tremendously.. but medicare won't cover it. They will however cover large amounts of narcotics. Both help with pain but only one is healthy for my body. It's sad that one isn't covered..

over 1 year ago

With Fibromyalgia, I've found that massage helps GREATLY. I can no longer pay out of pocket for a massage. However, both Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy aren't covered by Medicare and as our Muscular Dystrophy patient above stated, not by AARP's insurance and I have FULL coverage ($353/mos for 20% Supplemental Coverage). Disabled since 1994, I know what relieves my pain and what doesn't.. Stop the pain medications and allow us to receive massage therapy. I tired of being overdosed by physicians and seeing my friends, neighbors and family overdosed by physicians, when there are alternative therapies.

Anonymous said almost 2 years ago

This helps, but I can not find anyone to do the prescribed deep tissue massage who takes medicare. I have two different prescriptions, Medicare & United Health Services Senior Supplement insurance...NO one to massage. I am a Muscular Dystrophy patient. Living in zip code 92109


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