Understand the Ins and Outs of Acupuncture Cost

Acupuncture can provide patients with significant, far-reaching benefits. However, because it is not always covered by insurance, acupuncture cost can sometimes be a stumbling block to treatment. At his Poway, CA, practice, Dr. Bret Mosher can provide patients with comprehensive cost information without a consultation so that you understand and are fully prepared for your appointment.

Photo of a man receiving acupuncture

How Much Does Acupuncture Cost?

The final price for an acupuncture treatment varies depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The condition being treated
  • Number of sessions required
  • Length of each session
  • Use of supplemental healing modalities like cupping or moxibustion
  • How much your medical insurance covers

In most cases, initial treatments can be more expensive because they are more comprehensive and typically last longer than later sessions.

Is Acupuncture Covered by Medical Insurance?

While largely an out-of-pocket expense, acupuncture is recognized as a complementary treatment by several major medical insurance companies, including:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • ChoiceCare
  • First Choice Healthcare
  • Health Net
  • Horizon Healthcare
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Pacificare
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare

While the cost of acupuncture is not usually covered completely by insurance, it can cover a significant portion. In most cases, medical insurance is applicable only for a certain number of sessions or the treatment of certain conditions, such as chronic pain. If you are undergoing acupuncture as part of a preventive treatment, you may be able to apply funds from a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to the cost, as well. In this case, patients may be reimbursed for the expense.

Although not appropriate for every medical need, acupuncture offers patients considerable benefits, particularly in terms of therapeutic and preventive value.

What Questions Should I Ask My Carrier?

Because the final cost of treatment depends on how much your insurance will cover, it is important to ask your insurance carrier for the details before setting up an appointment. Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Is acupuncture covered by my plan?
  • Is reimbursement limited to a specific network or panel of providers?
  • Is reimbursement limited to Medical Doctors who perform acupuncture? Does it cover licensed acupuncturists?
  • Is pre-authorization necessary?
  • Am I restricted to only certain types of sessions?
  • Is there an annual deductible?
  • If I am covered, can you send written proof or authorization?
  • Is there a cap on number of visits or on the total dollar amount?
  • What percentage of the cost is covered?
  • Is a referral from my Primary Care Provider required?

The answer to the last question in particular can vary. In the state of California, acupuncturists are considered primary care physicians. Consequently, insurance carriers do not always require referrals from a patient’s primary doctor in order to start treatment. Whether you do or do not will depend on the type of coverage you have.

Other Considerations

Lack of medical coverage can be a deterrent, but should not be the only thing to consider when deciding on treatment. Although not appropriate for every medical need, acupuncture offers patients considerable benefits, particularly in terms of therapeutic and preventive value. In many cases, it can help pick up the slack where Western medicine falls short, and improve a patient’s overall quality of life.

Alleviate Your Pain

As one of the nation’s premier centers of natural medicine, Mosher Health offers quality care tailored to your individual needs. If you are considering acupuncture, reach out today to receive a comprehensive cost estimate free of charge. 

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Phone: (858) 679-2995