Friday, October 31, 2008

Are Registered Massage Sessions covered by OHIP?

All different types of massage can be beneficial in helping with many different types of aches and ailments. Sports massage, deep tissue massage and therapeutic massage can reduce back and neck pain, relieve stress and speed up the recovery process after surgeries and injuries, but without medical coverage the burden of cost can be too much for some patients to be able to afford.

Will I be Covered?

This is a common question because of the fact that massages can be so beneficial, but also so expensive. Unfortunately, the short answer seems to be that most registered massage sessions will not be covered by OHIP.

There are potentially some cases where massage may be covered, but there are some very specific requirements that must be met in order for the patient to be eligible for coverage: factors like the age of the patient, the nature of the injury being treated and whether or not the clinic administering the massage is registered as a designated physiotherapy clinic.

What's the Difference between Physiotherapy and Massage?

A hundred years age there wasn't a great deal of difference between a physiotherapist and a licensed sports massage therapist - both provided an almost identical rehabilitant service, but today's licensed physiotherapist actually use very little, if any massage, techniques in their treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and ailments.

In the past, sessions with a licensed sports massage therapist would very likely have been covered in full, but with recent changes to coverage under OHIP, coverage only pertains to a limited number of sessions with a designated physiotherapy clinic under the guidelines of eligibility.

Who's Covered?

With the new rules of coverage in place, in most cases, any patient over the age of sixty five or under the age of nineteen that needs physiotherapy sessions will have coverage up to a predetermined number of sessions. All residents of long term care facilities or nursing homes, regardless of age, who require physiotherapy will have coverage up to a pre determined amount of sessions in a calendar year; and anyone needing physiotherapy sessions in their home after having been hospitalized, regardless of age, will be covered up to a pre determined number of sessions.

Under these new rules, anyone not currently living in a long term care facility or anyone not having been recently hospitalized, between the ages of nineteen and sixty four, will not be covered for any massage or physiotherapy sessions, even if the physiotherapy clinic is on the designated list on the OHIP website.

Therapeutic, sports, hot stone and shiatsu massage can all bring with them a host of benefits to the recipient, unfortunately very few if any of these sessions are eligible for coverage by the government under the news policies of the OHIP. Of course, residents are still more than welcome to participate in sessions by any licensed massage therapist, but in doing so they should be prepared to pay for the services out of their own pocket, without the hope of reimbursement from the government.

If you need to schedule a massage session for rehabilitation and are hoping that yours is one of the cases that will be eligible for coverage, make sure that your case meets the requirements above and also make sure that the clinic you are planning on visiting is on the designated list available on the OHIP website.

More detailed information regarding exact situations and types of services, answers to frequently asked questions regarding when and why the coverage was changed and the list of designated physiotherapy clinics that are part of the network can be found by visiting the OHIP website.

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