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    Does HealthCare Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

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    The good news here is that Many insurance companies do cover Acupuncture for several conditions. The key to remember is - they need to know that the treatment is in fact helping you.

    Federal payers such as Medicare and Medicaid do not generally reimburse for acupuncture treatment.

    Plan ahead and use pretax money from a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending arrangement (FSA).

    Here are examples of common conditions covered by insurance companies:
    • Nausea and Vomiting associated with Cancer chemotherapy, radiation, after surgery and morning sickness
    • Stroke rehabilitation, which involves relearning skills that a person lost because of brain damage from a stroke
    • Headache / Migraines
    • Menstrual cramps
    • Tennis Elbow
    • Fibromyalgia or widespread pain and tenderness of muscle and soft tissue
    • Myofascial pain, caused by spasm in the muscles
    • Low back pain. 
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome, or pressure on a nerve in the wrist that results in tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain of the fingers and hand
    • Asthma, or inflammation in the tubes that carry air to the lungs, resulting in periodic episodes of difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing
    • Drug Addiction: Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of withdrawal after a person stops taking a drug he or she is addicted to. It may also help prevent a relapse
    • Dental pain
    • Labor pain
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    How to increase your chance of insurance coverage of your acupuncture treatment

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    If possible get a detailed prescription from your practitioners about your condition and treatment. At minimum, after each session get a detailed receipt.

    The key items to include in the receipt:
    • Name of the Acupuncturist (Contact information)
    • Amount Paid
    • ICD  (International Classification of Diseases used for Medical Diagnosis) and
    • CPT codes (Current Procedural Terminology are 5 digit numbers assigned to specific treatments)

    The probability of reimbursement through insurance is greater if the practitioner lays out the plan with your ahead of time and you follow it and can share this plan proactively with the insurance company.
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    Additional ways to save money on your acupuncture treatments

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    Finally, if insurance coverage is limited, you can explore additional options to make your treatments more affordable:
    • Negotiate a plan and package deal with your practitioner in advance.
    • Use your FSA or HSA accounts and use pretax dollars to pay for the treatments. Please note even taxi or bus rides to get to the essential health service are covered by these accounts.
    • Look for community clinics for Acupuncture in your area. These clinics often administer treatments to more that one patient in a single large room instead of one patient in a private room. These make the treatments significantly more affordable.
    • Look for clinics offered through Schools and Colleges in Acupuncture in your area.