While some plans (like Medicare B) cover certain types of physical therapy and chiropractor treatments, massage chairs are not eligible as a necessity for any medical condition. So, the answer is no–but it is not the whole answer.?
How can I get Medicare to pay for massage?
For the vast majority of Medicare recipients, massage therapy is not covered by Medicare. Medicare Part A and Part B require that all covered services are medically necessary, and massage therapy generally does not fit in that category because it is considered an alternative treatment.
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Are massage chairs covered by insurance?
If you already used your deductible and are looking to have your insurance company cover a massage chair's cost, this the answer is typically no. Massage chairs typically do not have an insurance medical code or DME which means they cannot be covered by insurance.
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What equipment does Medicare pay for?
Durable medical equipment (DME) is reusable medical equipment, which includes items like walkers, wheelchairs, or crutches. If you have Medicare Part B, Medicare includes some medically necessary durable medical equipment if your physician or treating practitioner prescribes it for you to use at home.
Having your health insurance plan pay for a new massage chair can be challenging but for many it is possible to get your chair – or at least a part of the cost – covered under certain benefit plans.
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Because the health insurance market is so strict on what is and is not covered, you might have to work to get your plan to cooperate. Even if your insurance won’t cover a massage chair's cost, you might have other options for offsetting the cost of this valuable purchase.
Using a New Massage Chair to Help Meet Your Deductible
Some health insurance plans may permit you to apply a therapeutic chair's cost towards your yearly deductible. Usually this requires a prescription from your doctor for the therapeutic chair. Additionally, the insurance company typically requires that the chair be considered DME (durable medical equipment) under the terms of the plan.
To determine if this is an option under your plan, speak with your benefits administrator and research your healthcare plan's specific benefits and terms. You can meet with your care provider and see if they can offer insight into how to get a massage chair covered under insurance.
Using an FSA or HSA to Pay for a New Massage Chair
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HAS) as a part of your medical benefits plan, it is possible to be reimbursed for some or all of the cost of a therapeutic chair.
If you can use these types of benefits for your purchase, it gives you an even greater financial benefit from your purchase because the money you deposit into your FSA or HSA typically goes in pre-tax. That is to say, you haven’t paid income tax on the money you used to purchase your new chair.
Tax Deductions for a Massage Chair Purchase
In some instances, you can take a tax deduction for a doctor-prescribed therapeutic chair purchase. Not everyone qualifies for a tax deduction, so work with your CPA or tax preparer to help you determine if this is an option available to you. If you do qualify for a deduction, you can reduce your income tax liability significantly.
Another possibility is having the sales tax waived on a chair purchase if the equipment was prescribed by a medical professional. This depends on the sales tax laws in your area.
Even if none of these possibilities apply in your case, you can find more economical ways to get the relief you need. For instance, you can finance your purchase and pay for it over time and even find zero-interest massage chair financing programs.
Here are some ways to get your insurance to pay for a massage chair:
- Read Through the Insurance Policy – go through your insurance policy to confirm that your health insurance has a clause on medical-massage. Some insurance companies will not cover massage regardless of whether a doctor prescribes it or not. Carefully review the policy thoroughly and confirm there is a clause that allows the policy to pay for a massage. Otherwise, your doctor’s prescription will be for nothing.
- Conduct Thorough Research – Carefully research and confirm that therapeutic massage therapy is an option for treatment for your particular ailment. If massage is not an acknowledged treatment method for your illness, your doctor will not recommend a massage chair. You may have to provide evidence, like research papers or case studies that prove the massage chair's benefits. Make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your symptoms what treatment options you have. Most doctors will suggest painkillers first, and massage therapy only as a last option. Talk to your doctors about your reasons for suggesting massage and cite the studies that demonstrate success with the same condition as yours.
- Type of Therapy – While you are deciding on massage therapy clinic, be wary of wellness or spa recommendations. Press for medical rehabilitation massage clinics that accept various insurance types to be sure you are covered. If your doctor is wary of massage prescriptions, listen to their concerns. You may get a prescription that covers medication and recurring doctor appointments. If your doctor says no to a massage prescription because of the insurance policy, seek a second opinion. If your doctor approves and writes a massage prescription, send this authorization to the insurance company, attaching receipts for purposes of reimbursement
- Keep Careful Records - Keep detailed records in case your insurance company requires any documents in the future. Documents including a copy of the referral and other relevant documents can also be requested in the future to provide further information or for reference to support your reimbursement. If you lose these documents and the insurance company asks for them, you are at risk of not being reimbursed.