Good News: Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) May Cover Massage


Government-Shutdown1While the GOP tries desperately to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare (as they have sourly rebranded it) by holding the entire nation hostage, a group of Washington massage therapists (Marissa Brooks, L.M.P., Michael Hamm, L.M.P., Benjamin Erkan, Diana L. Thompson, L.M.P., and Kenneth Pfaff, H.F.W.L., H.P.C.U.H.G.S) have come forward to report that the ACA may even provide coverage for massage.

Evidence for ACA Massage Coverage

Their report, Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits, explains that a section of the ACA (which goes live January 2014) and prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against health care providers including licensed complementary health care providers (relative to plan coverage and participation of course.)

Making its case with “high-quality evidence for [massage therapy’s] effectiveness in treating medical conditions and populations” pertaining to 3 of the 10 Essential Health Benefits as described in the ACA, the authors of the report say, “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) supports the integration of Massage Therapy into state-regulated insurance plans, both in its definitions of health care practitioners, and in its definition of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs).”

In fact, they note, two sections in the ACA provide for massage therapists providing care: “Section 2706: Non-discrimination with respect to licensed or certified providers acting within their scope [and] Section 3502: Establishing community health teams that include CAM practitioners . . . ”

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Who does it apply to?

The report, which was funded by the American Massage Therapy Association’s Washington chapter, shows that the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) includes the use of massage as a modality to be included to assist patients in recovery.

Currently, the only state that pays for massage through the Department of Labor and Industry is Washington, although scientific evidence shows there is lasting and healthful benefits of massage in many ways.

Can having your massage covered be far behind?

For this reason, we believe we should keep our eyes on the ACA as it rolls out in January and become more informed about what the intention of the ACA is in regards to both recovery from injury or illness as well as preventative treatments to reduce overall medical costs.

We know the many benefits of massage certainly put it squarely in the categories of healing, stress management, and preventive health care but imagine being able to finally have your health insurance pay for you to proactively participate in your health and well-being instead of relying on it only for something catastrophic.

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