Motor Vehicle Collisions (MVC) and massage therapy
In most states, Auto Insurance and Workers Compensation may cover your injuries from car accidents and work related injuries. You may also be able to get coverage from your health insurance in some cases for injuries and conditions that are found to be medically necessary (which also requires a prescription from your doctor).
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may have Personal Injury Protection insurance or No-Fault insurance on your auto insurance plan. You will need to call your insurance company to find out what you will need to do to get massage covered. In general, you will need to start a claim with your insurance and go to a doctor who will prescribe massage therapy. Your massage therapist will also call to check on your benefits. Massage can help with conditions like whiplash, back and neck pain, headaches, musculo-skeletal injuries like strains and sprains and can assist in recovery from surgery.
Work related injuries and massage therapy
Work related injuries may also be covered by Labor and Industries or Worker’s Compensation (depending on what you have in your state.) Car accidents sustained at work will fall under this category as well as injuries sustained in lifting, falls or anything sustained under your working conditions. You will need to start a claim with your company and begin the process of getting better. Massage must be prescribed by your physician. There will be limits to the number of sessions that you can get under this type of insurance. You will have to find out how many will be covered and what you will need to do to get them covered by L&I or Workers Comp.
Health insurance and massage therapy
Many health insurance companies are starting to pay for massage therapy that is medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. WA State has something called the ‘Every Category Law” that was created in 1993 that mandates that massage therapy be covered and massage therapists are contracted providers with health insurance companies. All of the rest of the states are really way behind in making this happen. The way it came about in WA was that we had an insurance commissioner named Deborah Senn, who worked diligently to make this happen. She created healthcare reform way before anyone was really talking about it. There was even a Supreme Court Decision on this in the end as the insurance companies fought this for many years.
To get massage covered by your health insurance you will have to start asking for it from your health insurance plan and from your human resources departments at work. You will need to start asking your State Insurance Commissioner to make this happen in your state. You will also need to start getting your elected officials in your state on board to start making a stand for massage therapy in legislation. The insurance commissioners and legislators will want to have evidence that massage will fit into the 10 Essential Health Benefits that are outlined in the Affordable Care Act. WA State Massage Therapists have put together a document that shows how massage will fit in. Summary of Evidence (PDF)
Covermycare.org has more tools for helping you to get massage covered by health insurance including letter to the insurance commissioner templates and letter templates to send to your legislative representatives.
Massage Therapy can help relieve and heal many conditions and more, reduce opiod use and help prevent injuries and disease.
- Back/Neck Pain
- Herniated discs
- Shoulder/Arm/Wrist/Hand Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Hip/Leg/Knee/Ankle pain
- Musculoskeltal injuries and diseases
Use this document from the American Massage Therapy Association and take it to your state’s Insurance Commissioner and demand that they start including massage therapy in health insurance coverage: MASSAGE THERAPY IN INTEGRATIVE CARE & PAIN MANAGEMENT (PDF)