Does Medicaid pay for massage therapy?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Does Medicaid pay for medical message therapy by a massage therapist?

Expert Answer

Some massage therapy might be covered by Medicaid (which often provides broader coverage than Medicare does). But Medicaid  is not the same in every state. Each state Medicaid program has somewhat different rules about what kinds of medical care are covered and how someone would qualify to receive that care.

If your state's Medicaid program does cover some medical massage therapy, there will be significant restrictions on it. In the first place, it almost certainly will require a referral from a physician, as well as ongoing supervision by the physician if there are to be repeated therapy sessions. It may also require prior authorization from Medicaid itself. If you are approved to receive massage therapy, you must receive it from a therapist who participates in the Medicaid program, which means the therapist is certified by Medicaid and accepts Medicaid patients. Also, there may be a limit on the number of visits Medicaid will pay for, or on the total amount Medicaid will pay.


To find out whether your state's Medicaid program covers massage therapy, and to learn the rules for coverage if it does, go online to any search engine and enter the word Medicaid and the name of your state. Once you get to the web site, enter "massage therapy" in the site's search tool. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116 to get the number of your state Medicaid office, and ask them about massage therapy coverage.