People, understandably, wonder what kind of healthcare coverage they can use for massage therapy. Depending on the benefits structure of your healthcare plan, you may have some options available to you.
I do not directly bill insurance companies. If your plan offers coverage for massage therapy or you are entitled to massage as part of an injury claim for a motor vehicle accident, I will provide you with all of the paperwork you will need to submit to your provider for reimbursal. However, you will need to pay me directly at the time of the service provided. You will want to talk to your insurance company so you know exactly what the process looks like before your first appointment with me. Depending on your carrier, your reimbursal will arrive 2-6 weeks after you submit your paperwork.
Some folks who do not have insurance coverage for massage therapy can use a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to cover their massage appointments. HSA's and FSA's are special debit accounts where pre-tax money is taken from your pay to be used for healthcare spending that is not covered by your insurance policy. The major difference between the two accounts is that an FSA must be spent by the end of the year but the balance in an HSA may be rolled over. You will receive and HSA/FSA debit card, and you will be given a process for submitting cash expenses for reimbursal from your account.
I take FSA and HSA cards: they run through my card reader the same as any other debit or credit card. They're easy for me, but there's a little homework you need to do before your first appointment:
First, check with your benefits provider to ensure that massage therapy is an allowable expense. Federal rules governing these plans and individual company policies change on a yearly basis.
If massage is allowed, do you need a doctor's note? I do not necessarily need a prescription to work with you, but you may not be able to use your FSA to pay for any massage therapy you receive before the date on the doctor's order: from a financial standpoint, your benefits provider needs the doctor's note more than I do.
What is the balance left in your FSA? Around the beginning of August, I see clients' cards starting to run out of money. The balance in your account may deplete sooner or later, depending on the amount of money you set aside at open enrollment and the total cost of other allowable healthcare expenditures.
It's not always easy to navigate the world of insurance and healthcare benefits. You will always get the best answers directly from your carrier, but hopefully this primer helps you to ask them the right questions.