Medicare Coverage of Holistic Medicine

What It Is

Holistic medicine, including herbal remedy treatment

What's Covered

Medicare doesn't cover most holistic medicine. The only exception is osteopathic medicine, which includes a holistic approach to care.

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 holistic medicine, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

Medicare pays nothing for holistic medicine.

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.

about 1 month ago

I have good news. Some headway has been made. Reference this document from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS - the governing body for Medicare) It has specific alternative therapies noted and their use specified. It has specific instances cited for alternative therapies and checkout this bulletin from Aetna on justifiable uses for alternative therapies. There are also Alternative Medicine networks that off discounts. I am a Health Insurance broker in New Mexico and I get asked about alternative medicine coverage all the time. Due to the market demand in New Mexico Blue Cross Blue Shield offers Acupuncture coverage on a number of it's ACA Plans and a Medicare Advantage Plan. The key to getting the right answers is to find a Broker who knows the market and the choices.

4 months ago

Sad that we are at the mercy of lawmakers and insurance companies when we have a medical issue. We pay hundreds of dollars a month for medicare and our supplemental insurance but still cannot get the treatment we need. Unless, of course if you are rich and can afford more money out of pocket.

Anonymous said over 1 year ago

I totally agree with JackiePR and Mr.B45. Three and a half years ago I had total knee replacement with complications of RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy), the pain was so bad that I was on 2 "hard" narcotics, a sleeping pill, and antidepressant--All to no avail. The doctor said all he could do was to clip nerves or more surgery. Needless to say, I hobbled out of his office and never looked back. The FDA PREVENTED me from hyperbaric oxygen treatments (insurance limitations--I was not on medicare at that time; which would not have made any difference anyway. Through much prayer, God led me to a herbalist, who put me on several NATURAL remedies; within 2 weeks, I THREW away the drugs and even my blood pressure medication! I am drug FREE and doing better. Insurance companies should wise up--the herbal root is much cheaper. BKL67

almost 2 years ago

I could not agree more with the previous comment by Mister B45. It is pure nonsense and self serving decisions that are made for our health. My Dermatologist noticed a few symptoms I had to indicate thyroid problem, related to my weight gain. My own primary care doctor has ignored this issue. I want this Dermatologist, who also has a Holistic practice, to be my primary care doctor. Medicare won't allow this. I cannot afford to pay his costs out of pocket, so I'm forced to put up with sub-standard care. Seems we have lost control over our own lives. My experience with family practice doctors is they do not care. They time their visit with you and they're gone. I've had to remind him of a prior mole removal that needed to be checked on my back. This as my time with him was obviously over, with his hand on the door knob. I get the distinct feeling caring is a thing of the past and it is very scary to put my health in hands like that. These guys forget that us seniors were around when our family doctor really cared about us, and how medicine has declined drastically in this country. This is all about money with the AMA and the FDA and who they are being bought off by. They claim to be for preventative medicine, that is what Holistic medicine is all about, yet they will not allow it. Holistic doctors are medical doctors. Just maybe not so into prescribing all the harmful meds being pushed today. They treat the whole person, mind and body which more than makes sense.

over 2 years ago

I feel that I'm being cheated and/or deprived of being able to make the best choices when it comes to me and my spouses health. Our rights to make a proper decision are being gravely limited because of the greed and selfishness of the AMA and the FDA.


Want More Medicare Info?

< Browse Other Medicare Topics