In the very complicated world of health insurance coverage, one little detail that is often lost to consumers is that Medicare is a beast of its own. The commercial insurance market of employer based insurance and individual policies is governed by a combination of state and federal laws. In that regard, those types of insurance are more nimble to changes in coverage. When it comes to Medicare however, this is a federally regulated benefit.
The basic Medicare chiropractic benefits were established in the 70s by Congress, and basically, they have not changed since then, in spite of the evolution of our profession to provide increased levels of complex care and long term management to our senior population. Currently only spinal adjustments for acute conditions are covered, while most commercial health plans provide a more comprehensive coverage ( albeit still with many limitations) to include evaluation/management services, supportive therapies, and extraspinal extremity care.
My standard response to patient frustrated with their Medicare benefits for the past 24 years has been to talk to your elected federal officials, since they are the only ones able to change that. Up until recently, there has been been very little interest in doing so, but the times are changing and more access to primary neuromuscular care is definitely on everybody’s mind, mostly for cost containment purposes. Our national association is making it easy for you to contact your federal reps and let them know how much you support this initiative.