Does Medicare Cover Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is gaining traction. But is it covered by Medicare? Learn how Medicare beneficiaries can utilize their coverage for alternative types of health care.

Although Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not cover holistic medicine, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may cover other treatments, therapies and medicines that Original Medicare doesn't cover.

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What is osteopathic medicine?​

Osteopathic medicine is a medical approach that focuses on the working relation of all systems of the body during healing. Medicare Part B provides some coverage for osteopathic medicine that is provided by a physician licensed as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.).

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Medicare may also cover certain chiropractic services when determined to be medically necessary. Medical nutrition therapy is also covered by Medicare, but only for people with diabetes, kidney disease or recipients of kidney transplants.

What is holistic medicine?

Holistic medicine is an approach to healing that addresses the whole person — mind, body and spirit. It is an alternative to the more conventional methods of healing that we have come to know in this day of modern Western medicine.

Holistic or “alternative” medicine has been growing in popularity in recent years, but Original Medicare does not provide coverage for this type of treatment.

Medicare Advantage plans can offer some additional benefits

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are required cover everything that Part A and Part B do (except hospice care, which you still receive from Medicare Part A). Medicare Advantage plans can also offer additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare.

Many Medicare Advantage plans include memberships to SilverSneakers or other wellness programs. A beneficiary seeking a more holistic approach to their health could utilize such a program for a more complete “mind and body” health strategy.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may also provide coverage for healthy food options. Again, beneficiaries can take advantage of this coverage as part of a holistic healthy lifestyle.

Find a Medicare Advantage plan that offers the benefits you need

Medicare Advantage plan selection varies by area, and there are only certain times of the year when you may enroll. Call today to speak to a licensed insurance agent about your Medicare Advantage options.


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About the author

Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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