How to Visit the Chiropractor With No Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 15, 2023

Need to see a chiropractor but don’t have insurance? Horrified to think that when you’re done you’re going to have to max out your credit cards? There’s no need to worry because seeking out chiropractor services without insurance is common practice. In fact, these days some chiropractors don’t even take insurance.

While fees for a single chiropractic session average just $65 for a general vertebrae adjustment, sessions themselves range anywhere from $34 to $106, well within the affordable range. As a new patient, you can expect to pay anywhere from $61 to $161 for your first chiropractic visit. X-rays cost extra.

Do Chiropractors Accept Insurance?

Most chiropractors accept insurance. In fact, over 20 million Americans see chiropractors every year. At $4 billion total, that’s a lot of neck and spine adjustments. The good news is, if you have insurance, chances are you’re covered, at least for part of it.

Even though most private health insurers still think of chiropractic services as complementary or alternative medicine, they will pay for short-term care, although long-term care is typically not covered. Insurance providers typically apply restrictions like:

  • Deemed medically necessary by a licensed physician
  • Capped visit limit
  • Coverage limits

The Marketplace (ACA)

For people with a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, the ACA typically does pay for chiropractic services. The ACA is required to cover 10 categories of “essential health.” One of those is rehabilitative and habilitative services. That means they have to help people with injuries to recover both physical and mental skills.


If you’re on Medicare, the good news is you’re covered. The bad news is that insurance coverage limits apply. Medicare Part B pays for “manual manipulation of the spine if medically necessary to correct a subluxation (slight misalignment of the spine) when provided by a chiropractor or other qualified provider.” Note the 2 words, “medically necessary.” And, you’ll need a prescription. Remember, with Medicare Part B you pay 20% and that’s after you reach your deductible, unless you have a Medicare supplement plan. In that case, chiropractic care may be 100% covered.


As for Medicaid, it also doesn’t cover chiropractic services as much as you’d like. You’d think Medicaid would at least pay for as much as Medicare, but with Medicaid the states have more input, therefore payment for chiropractic care varies from state to state. 

Chiropractic services are considered an optional benefit under Medicaid, along with:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental, vision and hearing
  • Occupational and physical therapy

Do chiropractors accept insurance? It depends on the practitioner. Make sure you get all the details before making your chiropractic appointment. And if you don’t have insurance, the good news is chiropractor services can be affordable.

Can You Visit the Chiropractor With No Insurance?

You can pay cash for your chiropractic services. If you have insurance, the insurance company might check the different services and prices for you. When you’re paying for it on your own, get a complete price list and know exactly what services you’ll be paying for.

To give you an idea of chiropractic cost — depending on where you are — a session with a chiropractor can range anywhere from $34 to $106. The more regions of the spine need attention, the longer the session will be. Although your chiropractor may not know beforehand exactly which and how much treatment you’ll need, it’s good to get a ballpark figure going in.

Services like x-rays are usually not included. X-rays will cost extra, somewhere in the $44 to $159 range.

What’s Included

Most general chiropractic sessions include an adjustment of the vertebrae. Adjustments involve the chiropractor using their hands and arms to apply force to the back and neck area to realign the joints, relieving both pressure and pain.

The length and frequency of the session depends on the severity of the patient’s ailment. A brief period of soreness after a session should go away in a day or two.

Additional Costs

Chiropractic service includes more than just a spine adjustment. Additional services, or modalities, are used by many chiropractors to ease tension and treat chronic ailments. A survey by Chiropractic Economics shows that 48% of chiropractors offer massage, while 15% do acupuncture as well.

The average cost for a chiropractic massage session is $42. A chiropractic massage is simply where the chiropractor applies pressure to the body’s soft tissue and muscles. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is the method whereby they insert needles into the body’s pressure points and leave them there for a predetermined period of time. The average acupuncturist charges anywhere from $100 to $150 for the initial session, and around $65 for each follow-up session. Chiropractic can vary depending on the clinic and treatment plan.

Discounts for Cash

Remember that chiropractors who operate on a cash-only basis usually give discounts for cash. Chiropractic costs for cash-only services usually come in around $57 per session. It’s easier for the chiropractor to work with cash-only patients because there is no paperwork from dealing with the insurance companies.

Chiropractors who don’t have partners, or have just one practice, usually charge less. On average, they charge about 10% less.

Check Payment Methods

Before you go to a chiropractor clinic, make sure you know exactly what payment options they have. Do they deal in cash only? Will they take checks or major credit cards? Cash-only services are becoming popular these days. Not only do they keep costs down, but many chiropractors are fed up with the low amount of reimbursement they get from the insurance companies.

Problems with insurance companies include non-payment of certain chiropractic benefits or low-ball reimbursements, which sometimes are as low as $29 per visit. While helping to drive more customers, sometimes insurance companies make it so chiropractors are actually operating at a loss. 

How Many Chiropractic Appointments Do You Need?

For most muscular or skeletal conditions, like lower back pain, 2 to 3 visits per week for a few weeks should be enough. Studies show that 12 treatments over a 6-week period is usually sufficient. 

If you’ve had a back or neck injury, the time frame will be longer.

  • Weeks 1 and 2: 3 to 4 chiropractic adjustments each week. 
  • Weeks 3 through 10: 2 to 3 adjustments each week
  • Ongoing: once every 2 weeks for maintenance 

Frequency accompanies severity, and the most severe pain always comes in the beginning. If you’ve been in an auto accident and hurt your back or neck, you’re going to need an entire regimen.

Urgent Care

Urgent care typically occurs right after having an accident involving your neck or back. It could be something that happened all of a sudden, like an automobile accident, or it could be chronic, meaning the neck pain or back pain has taken place over a long period of time. In the beginning, during the urgent care phase of your treatment, you're going to need to visit the chiropractic clinic more often. Depending upon the severity of the pain, you may have to schedule a chiropractic session as often as 3 or 5 times per week for as many as 6 weeks.

Reparative Care

Once the pain has subsided and you’re working on restoring your back or neck to its normal state, you won’t have to see your chiropractor as much. Schedule regular chiropractic appointments at the clinic to make sure you get back to normal. You don’t want to hurt yourself all over again.

Preventative care

You don’t want to be in the same painful situation again, so make sure you take all the preventative care steps recommended by your chiropractor like boosting your immune system through massage and other auxiliary treatments. Maintain regularly scheduled chiropractic appointments.

Does the Chiropractor Offer Additional Services?

Today’s chiropractors are more than just spine crackers. Chiropractors these days offer a wide array of services to treat many ailments. Some of these include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Myofascial pain

Simple therapies for muscle pain include massage therapy, hydrotherapy and ultrasound therapy. Today’s chiropractors have come a long way from just putting an elbow in someone’s back and mashing down.

Compare Health Insurance

No one puts together a list of the best health insurers like Benzinga. Remember, you never know when you’re going to need chiropractic care, but when you do, you’ll know it for sure. Make sure you’re insured with a health insurance plan.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance
    Best For:
    Nationwide coverage
    securely through Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance's website
  • Sidecar Health Access Plan
    Best For:
    No enrollment period health insurance
    securely through Sidecar Health Access Plan's website

    Plans referred to above are excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance products marketed and administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC and underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company or United States Fire Insurance Company, depending on the state. As an excepted benefit plan, it does not provide comprehensive/major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage, or essential health benefits. You cannot receive a subsidy (premium tax credit and/or cost-sharing reduction) under the ACA in connection with your purchase of such an excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance plan. Also, the termination or loss of this policy does not entitle you to a special enrollment period to purchase a health benefit plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage outside of an open enrollment period. Coverage and plan options may vary or may not be available in all states.

  • Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance
    Best For:
    Access to Kaiser medical specialists

Cash or Insurance?

More chiropractors are moving to cash-only models these days, but you still might need to rely on insurance in the case of a major problem. If you need extensive chiropractic services, you’re going to want to have health insurance. Check out all the great health insurance articles Benzinga has assembled for you.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I go to a chiropractor without insurance?


Most chiropractors take cash. In fact, many today are in the cash-only business. Check with your chiropractor on which payment plans it takes before scheduling your appointment.


How much does a chiropractor usually cost?


How much your chiropractor charges depends on where they are and what pain treatments are required. While fees for a single chiropractic session average just $65 for a general vertebrae adjustment, sessions themselves range anywhere from $34 to $106, within the affordable range. As a new patient, you can expect to pay anywhere from $61 to$161 for your first visit. X-rays cost extra.


How often should you see a chiropractor?


The frequency of visits to a chiropractor depends on individual needs and health conditions. Some people may benefit from regular visits, such as once a week or once every few weeks, while others may only need occasional visits for specific issues. It is best to have a consultation with a chiropractor to determine the appropriate frequency of visits based on your specific needs and goals for treatment.

About Philip Loyd, Licensed Insurance Agent

Loyd has written for, Red News Real Estate,,, McGraw Hill,, WikiHow,, S.R. Education, Society of Petroleum Engineers and BioTech Fortunes. He is a licensed insurance agent and financial advisor with both his series 6 and 7 certifications.