Are Holistic Doctors Covered by Medicare?

Lynn Smythe
Nov 17, 2022

Contributing writer Lynn Smythe is the Founder of the Senior Health and Wellness community on Quora where she writes about various senior lifestyle and healthy living topics.

Are you about to schedule an appointment for an acupuncture session or chiropractic adjustment and want to know if Medicare covers holistic medicine?

Then you’re in luck! This blog covers:

  • Does Medicare pay for holistic doctors
  • Does Medicare pay for homeopathic treatment
  • Does Medicare cover integrative medicine
  • Does Medicare cover alternative medicine

TIP: Continue reading to find the answer to: Does Medicare Cover Holistic Medicine?

Does Medicare Cover Holistic Medicine?

  • Original Medicare Part A and Part B normally don’t provide coverage for holistic doctors or alternative medicine services.
  • However under certain criteria, such as when dealing with chronic back pain, you may qualify for holistic medicine services like acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments.
  • Another option is to find a Part C Medicare Advantage plan that offers additional health and wellness benefits such as nutritional counseling or gym membership.

TIP: Try plan finder and get help finding a Medicare Advantage plan that offers additional benefits.

Does Medicare Pay for Holistic Doctors?

The criteria for Medicare coverage is evidence-based medicine that is medically necessary to treat a specific health condition. This criteria typically excludes alternative approaches like herbal remedies, Reiki, hypnosis, meditation, aromatherapy and music therapy. 

  • Doctors who offer holistic treatments may do so in coordination with traditional medical care for their patients.
  • They may integrate different types of services into your treatment plan.
  • Medicare covers services that are considered medically necessary and may base coverage on specific criteria.

Does Medicare Pay for Homeopathic Treatment?

Homeopathic medicine is sometimes used as a synonym for alternative medicine. And Medicare typically doesn’t provide coverage for alternative medicine services.

Homeopathy at a glance:

  • traditional homeopathy works on the principal that like cures like
  • minute doses of substances are used to help the body heal itself
  • most homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point you can no longer detect any active ingredients
  • there are currently no homeopathic products approved by the FDA

Homeopaths are not permitted to write prescriptions. However, if they are also licensed as a medical doctor (MD) then they allowed to prescribe Rx drugs for their patients.

Does Medicare Cover Integrative Medicine?

According to the Mayo Clinic, integrative medicine, or complementary and integrative medicine is just another name for alternative medicine.

It generally refers to treatment and therapies outside the practice of conventional medicine and is not covered by Medicare. 

Top integrative medicine therapies:

  • tai chi
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • animal-assisted therapy
  • aromatherapy

Integrative practices treat the whole person – mind, body and soul. They are used to bring relief to a variety of conditions like fibromyalgia, anxiety, chronic fatigue and migraines.

Does Medicare Cover Alternative Medicine?

Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for natural therapies or alternative medicines. That means if your doctor prescribes medical marijuana or CBD products, for example, you would have to pay out-of-pocket. 

In traditional medicine, your doctor responds to a health concern, formulates a diagnosis and prescribes a treatment or cure in the form of prescription drugs or medical procedures. 

The practice of alternative medicine addresses the whole or integrated system rather than its individual parts, based on the assertion that the various functions of the human body do not work in isolation.

Holistic approaches include different therapeutical services such as:

  • acupressure
  • acupuncture
  • cupping
  • massage therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • homeopathy
  • naturopathy
  • traditional Chinese medicine
  •  nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals
  • psychological therapies like mindfulness and spiritual practices

Find a new Medicare plan

Get recommendations based on what's important to you, and compare them to your existing plan.

Help Find a New Medicare Plan

If you’d like to explore your coverage options for holistic or traditional care, you can compare Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Prescription Drug Plans and find a plan that meets your needs.

TIP: Our plan finder is a free online tool to help you filter available plans in your area.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-406-1753 or TTY 771

Mon – Sun 5am to 8pm PST

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.

    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its sales agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    Get plan recommendations

    Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.

    Find a new Medicare plan

    Click here to find out more

    Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.