How to Get Your Doctor to Approve Massage for Insurance

Woman laying on table having a massage
A woman is receiving a massage. (Image: Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images)

At times, a massage is more than a mere stress-relief tactic. Therapeutic massage can help people deal with pain, depression and other maladies. In these cases, the massage is deemed medically necessary, and should be covered by health insurance. Before your insurance will pay for the massage, you must provide proof from your primary health care physician that it is a medically necessary procedure. Talk to your doctor and explain why you'd like massage therapy to be part of your treatment.

Step 1

Read through your health insurance policy to verify that your health insurance covers medically necessary massage, suggests MassagePost.com. Some insurance policies don't cover massages, doctor prescribed or not, so it would be ill-advised to try and have your doctor approve it without having the ability to pay for it through your health insurance.

Step 2

Research the possibility that massage therapy is a good choice for treatment for your particular malady. If it is not a well-known or recognized treatment for your condition or injury, your doctor will likely be hesitant to give you the go-ahead to pursue prescribed massage therapy as a treatment. You may need to print copies of case studies to show for evidence; for instance, the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine recommends massage therapy for cancer care treatment.

Step 3

Visit your doctor and speak with her about your symptoms and the available tactics on how to cope with your sickness. It's likely that your doctor will suggest pain medications before suggesting massage therapy as a viable treatment option, so you may need to bring it up yourself. Explain why you'd like to undergo massage therapy, and cite successful cases in which massage therapy has been used to treat a similar malady as you suffer from with the research you've obtained.

Step 4

Discuss potential massage therapy clinics. SelfGrowth.com cautions that your doctor will likely disapprove of a "wellness spa"-type setting for a massage. Instead, look for rehabilitation and medical massage clinics that accept various types of insurance to be sure that you can be covered.

Step 5

Allow your doctor to express any concerns and reservations in prescribing massage treatment he may have. He may only sign off on it along with other treatment options, such as medications and frequent doctor's visits. If your doctor refuses to approve massage for insurance, ask for a referral for a second opinion. If he agrees, wait for him to write a prescription for massage, and then send the authorization to your insurance company along with your massage receipts for reimbursement.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.