Medicare recipients will receive increased coverage of chiropractic care if a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today goes on to become law.
The bipartisan legislation would enable Medicare beneficiaries to more easily access the chiropractic profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management such as manual manipulation of the spine and extremities, evaluation and management services, diagnostic imaging and utilization of other non-drug approaches.
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 would align Medicare’s coverage of chiropractic services with that of other federal health care providers as well as many private health plans.
Chiropractic care has become an important strategy in national efforts to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse. The legislation was introduced by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).
“The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is encouraged that this bill would finally give Medicare beneficiaries access to the same safe and effective chiropractic services that members of our military, veterans, and federal employees now enjoy,” said ACA President Robert C. Jones, DC.
Since 1972, Medicare beneficiaries have been covered for only one chiropractic service — manual manipulation of the spine — forcing them to access additional medically-necessary care from other types of providers, or to pay out of pocket for the services from their chiropractor. Chiropractors are the only physician-level providers in the Medicare program whose services are restricted in this manner.
The federal Medicare program currently serves more than 55 million individuals, and various projections forecast the number of people age 65 or older increasing by about one-third over the next decade.
Medicare is exploring whether to pay for acupuncture. Coverage would be for chronic low-back pain only, which afflicts millions of people. Low-back pain, acute and chronic, ranks as the No. 3 cause of poor health or mortality in the United States, behind only heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For the latest chiropractic news go to www.chiroeco.com.