Table of Contents
You’re a Tricare member who’s had enough of your back and neck pain and looking for relief. Or maybe you’ve been considering seeing a chiropractor for a multitude of reasons, and you’re curious.
“Does Tricare cover chiropractic services?”
Military families have access to some of the best healthcare coverage, however, what’s covered and what’s not covered can be a bit confusing—especially with ever-changing rules and policies.
Look no further. In this guide, we’re answering questions about Tricare’s chiropractic coverage, including:
- Does Tricare Cover Chiropractic Services?
- Tricare’s Chiropractic Healthcare Program
- What to Do If You Need to See A Chiropractor But Don’t Qualify For Tricare Chiropractic Coverage
- Discounts for Chiropractic Services
Does Tricare Cover Chiropractic Services?
Tricare does not cover chiropractic care for families, retirees, or Tricare Reserve Select members.
But here’s where it gets a little confusing:
According to Tricare’s website, chiropractic services are covered under the Chiropractic Healthcare Program for active-duty members or activated members of the Reserve or Guard.
Note: According to Tricare, the Chiropractic Health Care Program is available to active duty service members (including activated National Guard and Reserve members) at designated military hospitals and clinics.
Family members, retirees, and their family members, un-remarried former spouses, and survivors are not eligible for this program.
They may be referred to non-chiropractic health care services in the Military Health System (e.g., physical therapy or orthopedics) or may seek chiropractic care in the local community at their own expense.
Prior to 2000, no military member had access to chiropractic care through Tricare.
In 2000, Congress recognized that chiropractic care could help alleviate many of the medical issues military members face due to their job’s physical duties.
If you are not an active duty member, don’t lose hope. In 2019, Congress introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to chiropractic services to retirees, Reserve, and National Guard members.
Tricare’s Chiropractic Healthcare Program
Under this program, qualifying military members may receive chiropractic care if:
- Their primary care manager (PCM) considers chiropractic care a required treatment option.
- Medical screenings rule out any medical conditions that wouldn’t allow for chiropractic care.
- They receive a referral from their PCM, who will also decide on the chiropractor visits/services’ duration and frequency.
- They are provided chiropractic care at any of the designated locations in their area—designated clinics, military bases, hospitals, etc.
If the service member utilizes chiropractic services outside of the designated locations or without consulting their PCM and following protocol, it will be at the service member’s expense.
What to Do If You Need to See A Chiropractor But Don’t Qualify For Tricare Chiropractic Coverage
First thing’s first, a chiropractor might be necessary, but there may be other options available to you under Tricare that are covered and can help you with your specific needs.
Although Tricare chiropractic coverage does not exist for veterans, members of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may qualify for chiropractic care through their standard Medical Benefits Package. The VA began covering chiropractic care in 1999, after being presented with a high demand for chiropractic services.
If you are not eligible for Tricare chiropractic coverage or coverage through the VA, start by talking with your PCM.
Find out all your options. While we aren’t here to provide medical advice, things like…
- Dietary adjustments
- Osteopathic manipulation (in certain cases).
… may help your symptoms/ailments at no (or minimal) cost to you.
If you feel it’s unnecessary to see your PCM regarding your issues, or you’re set on receiving chiropractic care, affordable options are available.
Discounts for Chiropractic Services
Although Tricare does not cover chiropractic services for everyone enrolled, discounts may be available to you.
Many chiropractors may offer military discounts and lower rates for self-pay patients.
In 2019, Tricare partnered with Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare provider, by starting a pilot program that allowed 1,760 Tricare members, who lived in Atlanta and 17 surrounding areas, signed up for the pilot program for three years.
Under this partnership, members receive services like:
- Discounted chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy
- Low-cost in-person health classes
- Special gym rates
- And more.
What’s that mean for Tricare members who don’t live in the Atlanta area?
Unfortunately, that’s unknown, but hopefully, this leads to more care options for Tricare enrollees in the future.
Curious About Other Tricare Coverages?
Curious about whether Tricare covers the services you need?
Check out our resources regarding: