Massage therapists are considered a doctor

Soothing massages: when the health insurance pays

A pull in the shoulder or tension in the neck are no reason to be prescribed a classic massage. "It used to be easier for doctors to prescribe a classic massage," explains Ulrike Burmeister, patient advisor at the Independent Patient Advice Germany (UPD). "Since 2001, however, doctors have had to strictly adhere to the specifications of the so-called Therapeutic Products Directive, which is drawn up by the joint federal committee, when choosing therapy." is. "In addition, the principle of economic efficiency applies, according to which a service must be sufficient, functional and economical," explains Burmeister.

Symptoms for a massage

Symptoms that can make a classic massage necessary are, for example, spinal disorders with blockages, muscle tension disorders and muscle hardening. If the doctor wants to prescribe a massage here, he must, in addition to the guidelines mentioned above, also pay attention to his doctor-related benchmark. That is the financial volume that is available to him for the prescription of medicinal products for each individual treatment case in a calendar year. If he exceeds this, there is a risk of a performance audit and, if necessary, recourse. "So when the doctor sees that he has almost used up the total amount of the prescription, he may refer the patient to a new quarter with reference to his budget," explains Burmeister.

Massages are too short-term

On the part of the health insurance companies, classic massages alone are seen as a therapy that is often too short-term and does not cause any change in the long term and thus improve the basic problem. Report author Professor Gerd Glaeske from the Center for Social Policy at the University of Bremen complained in the current report on remedies and medical aids from the Barmer Ersatzkasse: “... the classic massages (“ hands-on ”) are not sufficient as the sole therapy for chronic complaints. They only work in combination with manual therapy or activating approaches. "

You have to pay for that

Despite all this, classic massages are still prescribed. “As a rule, the doctor writes out a prescription for six massages,” says patient advisor Burmeister. The legally insured person has to pay a prescription fee of ten euros for the prescription. In addition, an own contribution of around ten percent of the cost of the remedy is due. This co-payment is required by law and varies slightly from fund to fund. For six massages plus fango, legally insured persons pay around 20 euros.

Costs for self-payers

If you just want to treat yourself to something good - regardless of a prescription - you can of course simply pay for a classic massage yourself. A classic massage of 15 to 20 minutes costs - depending on the practice - between ten to twenty euros. For a heat treatment with fango or hot air, another five to ten euros are added.

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