NEWS ON ACUPUNCTURE

Medicare began covering acupuncture as a treatment for lower back pain in 2020. Medicare Part B covers up to 12 acupuncture treatments for chronic low back pain Initially. Then Medicare covers an additional 8 sessions if the low back pain shows improvement. It can cover 20 visits in a year. 

Decision Summary from Medicare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain under section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act.  Up to 12 visits in 90 days are covered for Medicare beneficiaries under the following circumstances:

  • For the purpose of this decision, chronic low back pain (cLBP) is defined as:

    • Lasting 12 weeks or longer;

    • nonspecific, in that it has no identifiable systemic cause (i.e., not associated with metastatic, inflammatory, infectious, etc. disease);

    • not associated with surgery;  and

    • not associated with pregnancy.

  • An additional eight sessions will be covered for those patients demonstrating an improvement.  No more than 20 acupuncture treatments may be administered annually.

  • Treatment must be discontinued if the patient is not improving or is regressing.

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