Does Insurance Cover Massage Therapy? Unlocking the Secrets to Affordable Relaxation

Does Insurance Cover Massage Therapy?

Ever wondered about the distinctions between massages administered in a spa compared to those in a hospital or clinic, including the expenses associated with medical massage?

Today, let’s delve into the financial aspects of massages recommended by a doctor versus those offered in a spa, with the potential for insurance coverage.

Although massages can be a significant investment, their positive impact on health and well-being, particularly when insurance contributes to the costs, is worth considering!

Does Insurance Cover Massage Therapy? An image of a man holding the leg of a woman
Massage therapy and insurance: A comprehensive guide: Delve into the types of insurance massage therapists need and the steps to acquire coverage, ensuring a smooth journey for both practitioners and clients. PHOTO: Freepik


What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of your body’s soft tissues through rubbing and kneading.

It can target specific areas to alleviate pain or be applied throughout the body for a soothing, therapeutic impact.

The advantages of massage therapy extend to addressing various conditions and health concerns, with benefits such as:

  • Increased flexibility.
  • Improved joint mobility.
  • Reduced muscle and joint pain.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Fewer headaches and migraines.

Does Medicare Pay For Massage Therapy?

Medicare does not include coverage for the expenses associated with massage therapy.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal organization overseeing Medicare, designates massage therapy as an “alternative and complementary medicine.”

Consequently, Medicare does not cover the expenses associated with massage therapy, even when utilized for medical purposes.

Individuals with original Medicare are required to bear the entire cost of massage therapy, with no coverage.

The standard rate for a one-hour massage therapy session is approximately $60, although expenses may differ based on location, massage type, and any additional gratuities.

Massage therapy can offer advantages for specific conditions such as arthritis, pain associated with cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle strain resulting from injuries, and other similar ailments.

Why Doesn’t Insurance Always Cover Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy, like chiropractic care, is often categorized as an alternative treatment not always included in insurance coverage.

Additionally, if your provider deems massage therapy as maintenance rather than corrective, it may not be covered by health insurance, as supportive treatments are typically excluded.

Coverage is less likely if further treatment is not anticipated to bring about a significant change.

How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost With Insurance?

Medical massage therapy, also known as myotherapy, typically carries an average cost of $100-150 per hour in the United States.

However, this pricing can vary significantly based on factors such as geographical location (urban areas often incur higher costs due to increased operational expenses), setting (fitness facilities may offer comparatively lower rates to attract members), and the level of training of the therapist.

Some therapists may offer discounted package rates to incentivize repeat visits and help establish their practice.

For individuals with insurance coverage, the payment process can differ.

Some may only need to pay a copay or upfront amount, with reimbursement following later.

Certain doctor’s offices may have in-house massage therapists, potentially maximizing insurance benefits as they work under professional supervision.

In situations involving car accidents or workman’s compensation, it might be possible to have car insurance cover doctor-prescribed massage therapy.

Certain massage therapists may have the capability to bill health insurance directly, while others may require direct payment from the client, who then submits a claim and invoice for reimbursement.

Payment at the time of service may be necessary if insurance doesn’t cover massage therapy.

In some instances, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can be utilized to cover massage therapy costs.

Scheduling an appointment with a massage therapy provider is the first step, and it’s essential to use FSA funds before the year’s end.

Taking advantage of HSA or FSA can lead to significant savings on out-of-pocket expenses, especially if enrolled in a massage membership.

Before scheduling, contacting your insurance company to ascertain eligible benefits can prevent unnecessary expenses.

Some insurers may require a doctor’s referral, and understanding the copay in advance allows for better financial planning.

It’s worth noting that insurance claims for massage therapy can be intricate, involving extensive paperwork and potential payment delays.

Communicating with the chosen therapist about their willingness to work with insurance companies for massage purposes is advisable, as they may invest additional time in administrative tasks beyond the scheduled appointment.

Does Blue Cross Insurance Cover Massages?

Blue Cross Insurance stands out as a prominent health insurance provider in Chicago, extending comprehensive coverage for diverse medical treatments and services.

Among the array of services covered by Blue Cross Insurance, massage therapy holds a prominent place.

The rising popularity of massage therapy stems from its effectiveness in pain management, stress reduction, and enhancement of overall physical and mental well-being.

Blue Cross Insurance provides extensive coverage for physical therapy services in Chicago, encompassing massage therapy—a form of manual therapy administered by skilled professionals.

This therapeutic approach is effective in addressing diverse conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders.

Rest assured, with Blue Cross Insurance, you can access the necessary care without concerns about the financial aspect of your treatment.

  • Massage Therapy And Blue Cross Insurance In Chicago

Massage therapy, an alternative medicine technique with a long history of promoting healing and relaxation, has been utilized for centuries.

In Chicago, individuals can avail of coverage for massage therapy through Blue Cross Insurance.

This allows access to licensed massage therapists for the treatment of various conditions without incurring personal expenses.

Blue Cross Insurance extends its coverage to a variety of massage therapy modalities, encompassing Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and sports massage.

  • How To Use Your Blue Cross Insurance For Massage

To avail yourself of massage therapy services covered by your Blue Cross Insurance in Chicago, it is necessary to locate a licensed massage therapist who acknowledges Blue Cross Insurance.

Utilize the Blue Cross provider directory to identify eligible providers in your vicinity.

Upon identifying a suitable therapist, reach out to them to arrange an appointment.

Remember to bring your Blue Cross Insurance card and a valid ID when attending your scheduled appointment.

What Types Of Insurance Do Massage Therapists Need?

Type of Insurance

What it pays for

Find a provider

General liability insurance

Third-party injuries are not related to treatment.

Example: A client trips over a cord in your massage room, resulting in an injury.


Professional liability insurance

Third-party claims of negligence or malpractice, including legal and medical expenses. May also cover the attorney fees to defend your license amid administrative hearings.

Example: A client sustains burns during a hot stone massage, or claims they were injured during treatment.


Commercial auto insurance

Expenses resulting from an accident while using your car for business purposes, including medical expenses, property damage, and legal costs.

Example: You get into a car accident on the way to a client’s home, damaging your vehicle and another party’s. Depending on your coverage, commercial car insurance will cover repairs to both.


Workers’ compensation

Medical bills for employees and/or contractors who suffer a work-related illness or injury.

Example: A massage therapist who you employ develops carpal tunnel syndrome on the job. Workers’ comp will cover the cost of physical therapy or surgery, if necessary, as well as lost wages.


Commercial property insurance

The cost to replace physical assets, like massage tables, computers, furniture, and other equipment damaged due to fire, vandalism, or other covered events. (Note: Can be combined with general liability insurance with a business owner’s policy.)

Example: The studio space you rent is damaged in a fire. Commercial property insurance will cover the cost of replacing your equipment. Landlords often require renters to have this coverage.


How Do I Buy Massage Insurance?

To acquire and uphold insurance for your massage therapy business, adhere to these three essential steps:

  • Determine What Coverage You Need

Evaluate your business operations to identify the necessary insurance coverage.

For instance, if you are a self-employed massage therapist operating from a home office, it is advisable to have at least professional and general liability coverage, while commercial auto insurance or workers’ compensation may not be essential.

On the other hand, a studio owner managing a team of massage therapists and a receptionist will likely require professional liability, a comprehensive business owner’s policy, and workers’ compensation coverage.

  • Compare Quotes, Coverage Limits

You have the option to procure business insurance from conventional providers like Progressive or Hiscox, explore industry organizations, or collaborate with an insurance broker.

NerdWallet suggests acquiring several quotes and evaluating coverage limits to secure the most favorable rate for your business.

It is essential to carefully review the policy details to understand the extent of coverage and any exclusions.

  • Purchase Your Policies, Keep Them Up To Date

After finalizing your chosen policy and insurance provider, ensure a clear understanding of the payment process, claims filing procedure, and the acquisition of an insurance certificate, if required.

Regularly review your policy on an annual basis, exploring different coverage options to guarantee that your insurance aligns with the evolving needs of your expanding business.

Does Cigna Insurance Cover Massage Therapy?

Many individuals often inquire about the coverage of massage therapy under their insurance.

The response to this query differs among various insurance plans.

When it comes to Cigna Insurance, the answer is contingent on the specific details of the plan.

Cigna Insurance might include coverage for massage therapy, contingent upon your policy and the specific type of massage treatment you need.

Typically, Cigna provides coverage for massage therapy when deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a healthcare professional.

If you are a Cigna Insurance policyholder, it is advisable to review your particular policy details to ascertain whether massage therapy is covered and to understand any associated limitations.

  • What Types Of Massage Therapy May Be Covered By Cigna Insurance?

An infographic on types of massage therapy included in a Cigna Insurance Plan
An infographic on types of massage therapy included in a Cigna Insurance Plan.


Cigna Insurance might provide coverage for various forms of massage therapy, contingent on the specific circumstances.

Below are examples of massage therapy types that could potentially be included in a Cigna Insurance plan:

  • Therapeutic Massage

This form of massage entails manipulating soft tissues to alleviate muscle tension and discomfort.

  • Swedish Massage

This massage technique employs extended strokes, kneading, and friction applied to the muscles and joints to induce overall relaxation.

  • Deep Tissue Massage

A deep tissue massage entails the application of increased pressure to target deep muscle layers, aiming to alleviate pain, tension, and persistent stress.

  • Trigger Point Therapy

This massage technique focuses on addressing particular knots or “trigger points” within the muscles, potentially leading to referred pain in different regions of the body.

  • Myofascial Release

This treatment focuses on the fascia, a layer of connective tissue that envelops and links muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

  • Medical Massage

A healthcare provider recommends this massage technique to alleviate particular medical conditions.

  • What Are The Limitations Of Massage Therapy Coverage Under Cigna Insurance?

While your Cigna Insurance plan may include coverage for massage therapy, it’s important to be aware that there could be restrictions on this coverage.

Below are some of the limitations you might face:

  • Coverage may be limited to specific types of massage therapy.
  • There may be a limit on the number of sessions covered per year.
  • The policy may require a referral from your primary care physician.
  • You may have a copayment or coinsurance requirement.
  • Massage therapy may not be covered for certain medical conditions or diagnoses.

It is crucial to review your policy and consult with your insurance provider to ascertain the coverage for your massage therapy.

  • How To Get Approval For Massage Therapy From Cigna Insurance?

To obtain approval for massage therapy through Cigna Insurance, it is advisable to adhere to the following procedures:

  • Obtain a prescription from a healthcare professional detailing the specific medical conditions necessitating massage therapy.


  • Review your Cigna Insurance policy to determine if coverage for massage therapy is included and to understand any applicable limitations.


  • Locate a certified massage therapist acknowledged by Cigna Insurance.


  • Request that your massage therapist send the prescription and treatment plan to Cigna Insurance for approval of coverage.


  • Are Massage Therapists Required To Be Licensed Under Cigna Insurance?

Typically, massage therapists need to hold a valid license or certification to engage in massage therapy practice.

Utilizing the services of an unlicensed or uncertified massage therapist could potentially affect your eligibility for treatment coverage.

Within the framework of Cigna Insurance, massage therapists are expected to comply with the state licensure standards applicable to their practice location.

Additionally, they are required to furnish a diagnosis and treatment plan about the specific medical condition warranting massage therapy.

What Conditions May Require Massage Therapy?

An infographic on the Conditions That Require Massage Therapy
An infographic on the Conditions That Require Massage Therapy.


Massage therapy could prove advantageous in addressing various medical conditions, including:

  • Lower back pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Chronic headaches.
  • Stress and anxiety disorders.
  • Sports injuries.

What Are The Risks And Side Effects Of Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is typically deemed safe when administered by a licensed therapist.

Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of potential risks or side effects, including:

  • Muscle discomfort or sensitivity following the session.


  • Short-term discoloration, inflammation, or redness within the targeted regions.


  • Experiencing a sensation of light-headedness or dizziness.


  • Adverse responses to massage oils or lotions due to allergies.


  • Deterioration of specific health conditions in uncommon instances.


Ensure you consult with your healthcare provider before initiating any new treatment, particularly if you have existing medical conditions or are currently on medication.

Can You Get A Massage Therapy Session Without Insurance Coverage?

If you lack insurance coverage for massage therapy, you can still avail yourself of the treatment.

Typically, massage therapy sessions cost between $60 and $120 per hour, varying based on the type of massage and location.

Certain massage therapy clinics may provide package deals, bundling multiple sessions at a discounted rate.

Before initiating any new treatment, it is advisable to seek guidance from a licensed healthcare provider to mitigate the risk of potential adverse effects.

How Can I Get Massage Therapy Covered By Insurance?

While there is no assurance that your health insurance will cover massage therapy, you can enhance the likelihood by taking certain steps.

Many insurance providers might view massage therapy as an essential component of your recovery and treatment, making it beneficial to have a prescription or recommendation for massage therapy from your primary care physician.

In recent times, an increasing number of physicians have started endorsing massage therapy as a supplementary element in their treatment strategies.

According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), around 25 percent of patients indicated that their doctors directed them to a massage therapist when they discussed this form of treatment.

Furthermore, nearly half of the survey respondents noted that their doctors either strongly recommended or urged them to undergo massage therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What insurance do I need for the massage?

Public liability insurance stands out as a crucial safeguard for massage therapists, shielding your business from unforeseen accidents.

This coverage specifically compensates for claims related to personal injuries or property damage arising from the activities of your business.

  • How often you should get a massage?

It is advisable to receive a massage at least once every three weeks (or every two weeks) to facilitate healthy tissue repair and alleviate pain resulting from strenuous workouts.

Additionally, massages can contribute to relieving accumulated work-related stress.

  • Where do massage therapists make the most money?

The highest massage therapist salary is found in Alaska, reaching $69,287, while Florida has the lowest at $46,229.

On a national scale, the average salary for massage therapists is $53,935, and the hourly pay stands at $25.93.

  • Are massages covered by HSA?

Your Health Savings Account (HSA) can cover various alternative or holistic treatments upon the recommendation of your Primary Care Physician (PCP).

To facilitate this, your PCP will be required to issue a Letter of Medical Necessity (LOMN), outlining the specific condition for which the treatment is prescribed, the recommended number of sessions, and any pertinent details.

Among the eligible therapies are practices such as massage therapy.


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