Does Medicare cover aquatic therapy?

Medicare will pay for your aquatic therapy sessions as long as doctors say they’re medically necessary.

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UPDATED: Jul 5, 2022

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Written By: Chris TepedinoReviewed By: Laura WalkerUPDATED: Jul 5, 2022Fact Checked

The Rundown

  • Aquatic therapy is an excellent alternative to physical therapy for those who cannot handle regular exercise
  • If your doctor has recommended that you undertake this form of therapy, Medicare will help pay for it
  • You need to take into account your deductible, and Medicare will pay 80% of the agreed balance

If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain or need help bouncing back from surgery or injuries, you may wonder whether Medicare will help with your therapy. As your condition may be particularly acute, and if it’s challenging to deal with regular exercise, you may also want to know if the program will cover aquatic therapy. 

Does Medicare Part B cover physical therapy?

Many people in your position may ask, “does Medicare cover aquatic therapy?” 

BQ: In order to qualify for this type of coverage specifically, your doctor must recommend aquatic therapy. 

You will also need to work with physical therapists who accept Medicare as a form of payment and receive your treatment at a Medicare-approved facility. These locations could include a skilled nursing facility if you’re getting outpatient care, a rehabilitation facility, or a therapist’s office.

Will Medicare pay for a swimming pool session with a therapist?

It may be possible to receive your aquatic therapy in a public pool, but it cannot be open to the public when you receive your treatment from the practitioner. Otherwise, the facility must be private.

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How much does Medicare pay for aquatic therapy?

In 2022, you will need to pay a $233 deductible through your Medicare part B coverage. After you meet the year’s deductible, you will pay 20% of your outpatient therapy costs, subject to Medicare approval of the bills. 

With Original Medicare, rules may limit how much it will pay each doctor or therapist for specific types of treatment. This can sometimes be less than the actual amount that the therapist or doctor would actually charge. 

However, remember that there is no limit to how much Medicare pays for any -medicallynecessary outpatient therapy services during the calendar year. If you have Medicare Advantage, your therapy cost will depend on the specific level of coverage that you have in place.

Why is aquatic therapy a helpful solution?

Many patients struggle with mobility and find regular physical therapy far too strenuous. It’s easier for seniors with arthritis or joint pain to get an adequate amount of exercise if they do so when suspended in water instead. The water can be an excellent buoyancy aid and reduce resistance, leading to lower pain levels and more health benefits in general.

Many experts recommend aquatic therapy to help treat painful musculoskeletal or neuromuscular disorders. Afflicted individuals may benefit from this treatment as it may help reduce inflammation and any pressure on damaged joints. 

If the patient undergoes aquatic therapy for a certain number of treatments, it might help to rebuild muscle mass and endurance. In some cases, it can also help restore a better sense of balance.

What You Need to Know About Medicare and Aquatic Therapy

Health insurance does not always cover aquatic therapy, but if a doctor has deemed your treatment medically necessary, then Medicare will cover it. In particular, Medicare Part B will cover certain doctor’s fees, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. This means that Medicare can help with outpatient physical therapy costs, which include aquatic therapy.

When your doctor says that you would benefit from aquatic therapy to help you relieve pain, rebuild muscle mass, or recover from injury or surgery, then Medicare will cover this therapy. You will need to work with an approved practitioner at a designated facility and someone who accepts Medicare as payment. 

You may also need to pay your deductible first, and Medicare will then pay 80% of the outpatient therapy costs. You can receive your therapy in a public swimming pool, but it cannot be open to the public at the time of your session.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

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