Study Reveals Insurance Coverage Patterns for Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Massage

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Data suggest that Americans are increasingly willing to pay out-of-pocket for acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage care that isn't covered by health insurance, reports a new study led by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The study was released by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


The researchers compared data from two years (2002 and 2012) of the supplement on complementary health approaches of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). In 2002, about 31,000 U.S. adults responded to the survey; in 2012, the number was about 34,500.

The type of health insurance that people have is known to be associated with their use rates for complementary health approaches. However, how insurance coverage relates to the use of individual complementary approaches has been much less studied. This report offers the first new national findings of this type in about 20 years.


The researchers analyzed NHIS data on the three most commonly licensed complementary approaches delivered by practitioners: acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. Among the questions respondents were asked include whether, in the past 12 months, any costs of seeing a practitioner for a therapy had been covered by health insurance, and, if so, whether those costs were partially or completely covered.


View the full spotlight and major findings.