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The Legal Fight for Chiropractic Medicare Coverage

By Chris Brown

Chiropractors become increasingly important in managing back and joint pain as patients age. In fact, 1 in 10 older adults suffer from chronic back pain, according to research out of Georgetown University. In the treatment of back pain, older individuals on Medicare (the national health insurance for those aged 65 and older) traditionally use expensive primary care physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, and addictive opioid pharmaceuticals. Expanding chiropractic's acceptance in Medicare can benefit patients, by giving them a drug-free alternative, and save funds for this government program.

The Current State of Chiropractic Medicare Coverage

Restrictive requirements disallow Medicare from covering chiropractic for many conditions in which it could help patients recover. In fact, the current Medicare coverage is still based upon its original 1972 allowances: solely for some limited conditions which require manual manipulation of the spine. Chiropractic has been shown to fix dysfunctions along the body's entire kinetic chain, as well as be an effective treatment for neurologic and other internal maladies. The outdated model of Medicare's chiropractic coverage desperately needs an overhaul to realign with the more recent findings of the medical community. This overdue overhaul, championed by the American Chiropractic Association, is currently in the final stages of litigation.

The Movement for Improved Coverage

In the fight for greater chiropractic coverage for older adults, the American Chiropractic Association has backed legislation that is currently with the U.S. House of Representatives. Known as "The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 2654)," the act is the latest step in the decades-long battle for equal chiropractic recognition in medicine. The bill aims to provide patients with all Medicare-covered benefits for chiropractic visits and redefines doctors of chiropractors as "physicians" in the Medicare literature. This would grant chiropractors with a whole new arena of abilities to help patients when it comes to financing their treatments and providing cost-free services. Not only is this an important step for patients and doctors, but it could also help manage the increasing financial load being placed upon government programs. 

Research has found that cost-effective chiropractic could save finance-strapped insurance networks, such as Medicare, millions of dollars in post-injury treatments and addiction recovery. However, until the regulation battle is won in congress, older patients are still dependent upon finding economical ways to fund their chiropractic needs out of pocket.

To find affordable chiropractic care, without the hassle of arbitrary insurance coverages, stop by The Joint Chiropractic today. The Joint offers a number of discounted care packages along with a cost-effective, single-session rate. All sessions fall under The Joint's convenient walk-in format of care, so patients can see a doctor without prior notice. And, with over 600 clinics nationwide, The Joint is never far away when you need an adjustment.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Springfield, Mo.

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