Covering the Cost of Chiropractic Care: Private and Government Insurance

Chronic back pain can stem from a variety of causes that include a previous injury, slipped discs or abnormalities in the spine. When over-the-counter painkillers and other treatments fail to ease the pain, you may consider seeing a chiropractor but are concerned about the cost of spinal adjustments. Private and government insurance may cover some or all of the expenses, and it is important that you understand your financial responsibility before you schedule your first appointment.


If you are age 65 or over, you qualify for government-supplied Medicare. This insurance plan covers a variety of health care, including hospital visits, medication costs and doctor visits. You may qualify early if you are disabled or suffer from certain debilitating health problems, such as kidney failure. Medicare Part B, which covers the medical portion of your health program, may provide funds for chiropractic care. You may want to contact your Medicare representative to ensure you have the proper coverage before you commit to an appointment.

Private Insurance 

Coverage for chiropractic care usually varies widely within the private insurance sector. Some plans offer it freely with no restrictions and others place conditions you must meet before your adjustments are paid for. Some plans require a referral from a medical doctor, so you may have to discuss your back pain with your general practitioner before you can see a chiropractor.

Medication Coverage 

It is important to note that chiropractors do not have the ability to prescribe any type of medication because they are not medical doctors, so you cannot receive painkillers at your local chiropractic care clinic. At most, your chiropractor can recommend vitamin supplements or herbal treatments that he or she believes may benefit you. Once you have your spinal adjustments, you can return to your doctor for advice about prescription medication.


Your chiropractor may want to take X-rays of your spine as a part of a complete medical examination before he or she performs adjustments. Medicare and private insurance may cover the cost, but there may be a few restrictions. For example, your insurance company may require prior authorization from your medical doctor or a surgeon, if you have had back surgery in the past. Because rules tend to vary so widely, it is wise to contact your insurance company to discuss this cost before you allow your chiropractor to proceed.

Having spinal adjustments may relieve your chronic back pain; however, not all insurance plans cover the cost. Contact a chiropractor today for more information about potential expenses and whether your insurance might cover them.