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Does Health Insurance Cover Acupuncture? An Authentic Guide

Does Health Insurance Cover Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and overall well-being. 

As more people turn to acupuncture for various health conditions, a common question arises: Does health insurance cover acupuncture

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the coverage options provided by health insurance plans for acupuncture treatments and shed light on how you can navigate this aspect of your healthcare coverage effectively.

Understanding Acupuncture and Its Benefits

Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and has been practiced for thousands of years. 

This holistic therapy aims to balance the flow of energy, also known as Qi, within the body. 

By stimulating specific acupuncture points, practitioners seek to promote natural healing, relieve pain, and improve overall health.

Research has shown that acupuncture may be effective in treating various conditions. 

Studies have indicated its potential benefits in managing chronic pain, reducing stress and anxiety, alleviating migraines, improving fertility, and even aiding in smoking cessation. 

With such promising outcomes, it’s no wonder many individuals explore acupuncture as a complementary or alternative therapy.

insurance coverage

Does Health Insurance Cover Acupuncture? An Overview

Health insurance coverage for acupuncture varies by plan and provider. Some plans may cover it for certain conditions, while others may not. Check your specific policy for details.

Private Health Insurance Plans

Many private health insurance plans now offer coverage for acupuncture services. However, the extent of coverage can vary significantly from one plan to another. 

Some insurance providers include acupuncture in their standard coverage, while others require riders or additional fees to access this service.

Notable insurance companies that cover acupuncture treatments include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare. 

However, it’s important to note that coverage options differ between plans, so it’s crucial to review your policy or contact your insurance provider directly to understand your benefits.

Government-Run Insurance Programs

If you are enrolled in a government-run insurance program such as Medicare or Medicaid, you may be wondering if acupuncture is covered. 

As of 2023, Medicare Part B provides limited coverage for acupuncture treatment specifically for chronic low back pain. 

However, certain criteria and restrictions apply, and it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider to ascertain coverage eligibility.

Medicaid coverage for acupuncture varies by state. While some states provide coverage for certain populations, such as pregnant women or individuals experiencing opioid addiction, other states may not cover acupuncture at all. 

To determine if you are eligible for Medicaid coverage for acupuncture, contact your state’s Medicaid office or review the specific coverage guidelines provided by your state.

Factors Affecting Acupuncture Coverage

Several factors influence the extent of acupuncture coverage within health insurance plans:

Criteria for Medical Necessity

Insurance companies typically require evidence of medical necessity to cover acupuncture treatments. 

This means your healthcare provider must justify why acupuncture is necessary for your specific condition in order for it to be covered.

Prescription Requirements

Some insurance providers require a prescription from a qualified medical professional, such as a doctor or licensed acupuncturist, to cover acupuncture treatments. 

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider and insurance company to understand these requirements.

Limitations and Restrictions

Even if your insurance plan covers acupuncture, there may be limitations or restrictions in terms of the number of sessions allowed per year, the duration of treatment, or the types of conditions covered. 

Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy to understand any such limitations.

health insurance

How to Determine if Acupuncture is Covered by Your Health Insurance

Contacting Your Insurance Provider

The most effective way to determine if acupuncture is covered by your health insurance plan is to contact your insurance provider directly. 

Even the Acupuncture Atlanta customer service department can provide specific information regarding your coverage. 

When reaching out to your insurance company or any service providing company for that matter, consider asking the following questions:

  • Does my current plan cover acupuncture?
  • Are there any limitations or restrictions on acupuncture coverage?
  • Is a referral or prescription required for acupuncture treatments?
  • Are there any specific acupuncturists or clinics that are in-network?

Remember to take note of the representative’s name, the date of the conversation, and any reference numbers provided for future follow-up or clarification purposes.

Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

If contacting your insurance provider directly is not convenient or you prefer to explore your policy independently, reviewing your insurance policy is an alternative option. 

Look for sections or keyword phrases related to acupuncture coverage, alternative medicine, or complementary therapies. 

Pay attention to specific clauses that outline requirements or restrictions. However, it is advisable to consult with your insurance provider to ensure you interpret the policy language accurately.

Alternatives for Acupuncture Coverage

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are tax-advantaged accounts that allow individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars for qualified medical expenses. 

Acupuncture treatments may qualify as eligible expenses under these accounts, enabling individuals to use these funds to cover the costs. 

HSAs are available to individuals with high-deductible health plans, while FSAs are typically offered through employers. 

Consult your plan documents or speak with your benefits administrator to understand whether acupuncture is an eligible expense under your account.

Other Alternative Insurance Options

If your current health insurance plan does not provide coverage for acupuncture or offers limited coverage, consider exploring specialized insurance plans that include acupuncture as part of their coverage. 

Some plans are specifically designed to support alternative therapies and may provide more comprehensive coverage for acupuncture treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Blue Cross Insurance cover acupuncture?

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance plans typically cover acupuncture. However, the extent of coverage may vary between plans. 

Contact your specific BCBS plan or review your policy to understand the details of acupuncture coverage.

Which insurance companies cover acupuncture?

Insurance providers that commonly cover acupuncture services, to varying extents, include Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, and other regional or local providers. 

Review your policy or contact your insurance provider to determine the coverage offered by your specific plan.

How can I get acupuncture covered by insurance?

To get acupuncture covered by insurance, follow these steps:

  • a. Contact your insurance provider to determine if acupuncture is covered under your plan.
  • b. Discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider and obtain any necessary referrals or prescriptions.
  • c. Choose an acupuncturist that is in-network to maximize your coverage.
  • d. Submit any required documentation, such as invoices or claim forms, to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Does UnitedHealth Insurance cover acupuncture?

Yes, UnitedHealthcare insurance plans typically cover acupuncture. However, the extent of coverage may vary depending on your specific plan. Contact UnitedHealthcare or review your policy for specific details.

How much does acupuncture cost without insurance?

The cost of acupuncture without insurance can vary depending on several factors, including the geographical location, the acupuncturist’s experience, and the length of the session. 

On average, a single acupuncture session can cost between $50 and $150. It is advisable to check with your acupuncturist directly to obtain accurate pricing information.


Does Medicare cover acupuncture for pain management?

Medicare provides limited coverage for acupuncture specifically for chronic low back pain. However, certain criteria and restrictions apply. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Does Medicare cover acupuncture for arthritis?

As of 2023, Medicare does not provide coverage for acupuncture treatments for arthritis. However, coverage guidelines may evolve over time, so it is essential to stay informed about any updates provided by Medicare.


Acupuncture can be a valuable tool for improving health and well-being; hence, understanding your health insurance coverage for acupuncture is crucial. 

While many private health insurance plans now include acupuncture coverage to varying extents, it is essential to review your policy or consult your insurance provider for specific details. 

Additionally, alternative options such as HSAs or specialized insurance plans may offer additional coverage. 

By being informed and proactive, you can make the most of your health insurance benefits and access the acupuncture treatments you desire.