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Why we need more MT who can bill for insurance.

Massage Insurance Billing is a controversial topic. Many MT want to avoid it because of the challenges of extra paperwork and low returns.  They also are concerned that by getting involved in the medical process, they will lose their ability to help clients in the way they do now and will get mixed up in the 'fixing' mentality of insurance companies. 


Being able to bill for massage is one of the big factors that has allowed me to stay in practice for so long (23 years).  I take one or two car accidents a year and maybe a few workers compensation cases a year.  It helps fill in my schedule and the thing is that it is not affected by the economy.  Clients who are in car accidents (now called motor vehicle collisions) and hurt at work usually come 2x a week and really need the massage work because of severe pain and loss of function.   Here in WA I can also bill health insurance for massage and am a contracted provider with insurance companies.  I get clients from just being on the list of providers.  I don't have to pay for advertising to get them and most clients come regularly until they are better. Most of these health insurance companies pay less than my cash rate but getting new clients without doing much is a blessing that allows me to do what I do best - massage. When their benefits run out, they often become regular cash clients too.


The Health Care Reform Act of 2010 also states:

(Section 2706) "A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider's license or certification under applicable State law

That means that massage will soon be allowed in all states.  How it will be implemented is another story but one that will need the work of many massage therapists who know how to bill and what is going on in billing that can help each state implement the changes.

It also takes a fair amount of political action groups to stand up for our right to bill insurance.  Currently FL has just lost the ability to bill Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for car accidents.  PIP is what pays you up front for the session instead of having to wait 3 year or until the time of settlement for payment.  We really need EVERY massage therapist to stand up for the profession when it comes to protecting our rights and ability to bill insurance.

That is the reason I resurrected my Massage Insurance Billing Manual that I now call "Insurance Billing 101 for massage therapists" that will give you a good overview of the billing process.  I am also creating a forum where MT will be able to share the information on which insurance companies are paying for massage in your are.  You will be able to connect with a mentor or be a mentor and teach others how to bill insurance.  It is a much needed preparation for the massage profession to be ready when the Health Care Reform Act is started and to be at the forefront of creating awareness for medical professionals and insurance companies.  Even if the Health Care Reform Act gets tossed out with a new administration, it is time for Massage Therapists to get the recognition they deserve in the medical profession.

Yes there will also be many ethical challenges and issues in billing insurance.  It is important that each massage therapist maintain their integrity when faced with dealing with things that go along with taking insurance.  One of the biggest things is how people will often view massage as a way to 'fix' their problem instead of making the life changes necessary to support their health.  The process of (Clinical) Supervision can help massage therapists deal with the many challenges and still feel good about themselves and can be implemented in each area through or through the new forum I am creating. 

So if you would like to join me in learning about billing insurance, you can buy my new ebook (soon to be a paperback, kindle and nook)

Massage Insurance Billing Section at my site  - see the intro and full table of contents

If you already know how to bill, please also join me in helping to teach other MT how to bill at or stay tuned here for more information on the new forum.


Julie Onofrio

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