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Medicaid and Chiropractic Care

Getting sufficient medical coverage on a fixed budget can be tricky, especially given the sheer number of people who view certain medical fields as untrustworthy or even as sorts of con-games. This distrust has had an effect on what the Department of Human Health and Services will recognize and allow coverage of under Medicaid. Thanks to the democratic system, as chiropractic care earns more recognition every day as a legitimate procedure, we may eventually see total coverage in all fifty states. As of now, however, only thirty states in the US offer any form of coverage for chiropractic care for Medicaid, under a fee-for-service arrangement. Of these thirty, twenty six states cover all categorically needy Medicaid eligible patients and twenty cover those who are medically needy, but do not qualify for financial assistance. Twenty states will only reimburse for chiropractic care that treats spinal subluxation and only eight states cover for any and all medically necessary chiropractic care. Luckily, all thirty states do provide coverage for children, and so, at the very least, early signs of scoliosis can be addressed under Medicaid before developing into a full blown disability in adulthood.

Twenty six of the thirty states place limits on the number and frequency of chiropractic care treatments that can be covered by Medicaid. In some states the limit is one per day, in others, one per year and some of these states even limit how long the treatment can continue, sometimes cutting off coverage halfway through the process and leaving the patient to foot their own bill.

The US government’s Department of Health and Human Services has shown to be somewhat distrusting of chiropractic care as a reliable, cost effective treatment process, with some state employees blaming chiropractors for rising Medicaid costs, citing more money spent on chiropractic care throughout the 1990’s. Being that chiropractic care became more prominent throughout that decade, it’s only logical that more money would be spent there, but that this means that less money was spent elsewhere remains overlooked by some state employees. Several studies have been conducted showing chiropractic care to be medically effective and cost effective, but these studies have seldom swayed politicians, so the practice remains uncovered or insufficiently covered by Medicaid in over half of the US. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of the states whose Medicaid program supports full chiropractic coverage, it would seem that private insurance or paying your own medical bills would be the only way to make sure you receive any and all necessary chiropractic care, at least for the time being.


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