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Is yoga covered by healthcare?

Daniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent for 15 Years

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

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The lowdown...
  • Several health insurance providers now cover yoga
  • Yoga coverage may be given as a subsidy or full coverage
  • Shop the market as only the progressive insurers are offering yoga coverages

Yoga has reached the point of complete mainstream popularity. It is everywhere. Just take a drive through the city or town that you live in this evening, and you will likely pass one or two yoga studios, at a minimum. They seem to be popping up left and right.

More and more folks want to attend yoga, but the biggest thing keeping them away is the cost. That is where health insurance comes into play. Most want to know whether or not health insurance will cover all or at least a part of the yoga classes that you want to take.

While there is no clear yes or no answer that is going to apply across the board, it is an interesting thought to explore in further detail.

Health insurance plans are always evolving. If you look at the way health insurance plans were constructed just five or 10-years ago, they have altered quite a bit. What used to be standard has been turned on its head in favor of different types of coverages and plans, new ways for consumers to pay. Things like a flexible spending account (FSA) or consumer directed health plan or CDHP are more common than ever, but how does that impact whether or not they will pay for yoga? Let us dig a bit deeper into the topic.

The Change in Health Insurance

AdobeStock_79754738-1600x1600The way that things used to be regarding health insurance providers were that they would not cover the cost of a gym membership, never mind a yoga membership.

A health insurance plan was initially constructed in a manner to help you with doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, physical therapy, etc. Consumer demand changed things though in the 1990s and health insurance providers were forced to adapt to that alteration.

The change that was initially seen was in the subsidization of gym memberships. The way that this would work is that you would get credit, typically annually, that would be able to help pay for a gym membership in your community.

We have all see the big chain gyms pop up across the United States with a tag that they cost $10 per month with no commitment and no money down. Why would they charge such a low price do you think? It is all due to health insurance changes!

The typical reimbursement or subsidization that health insurance providers used to give was $120 annually. If you were to go to that gym that charges the $10 per month, you would be able to cover your full membership through what your health insurance provider would be paying back to you.

This makes it almost a no brainer to keep that gym membership, even if you do not intend to go as routinely as you probably want to.

Yoga Left in the Cold

For the longest time, yoga was always left out in the cold. Unless your gym offered free yoga classes that were a part of your gym membership, yoga classes and groups at studios were typically not something that a health insurance provider would pay for.

Yoga has traditionally always been a part of what is known as non-traditional treatments for your health. It would be outside of typical buckets such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, among others.

Even massage therapy was usually covered while yoga was not. Things are changing more rapidly than ever though, and it is all in part to customer demand. What people want from a health insurance plan is changing a .ot.

Insurance Providers Getting Onboard

AdobeStock_60807769-1600x1600Some health insurance providers, the more progressive ones, are getting on board the yoga train. They are now beginning to offer subsidies for a yoga membership. This would work much in the same way that the subsidy still works for gym memberships; only yoga would now be included in the bucket of what they will pay for.

Other insurance providers are taking things step further and covering the yoga classes 100 percent. They may allow an allowance of yoga classes that can be taken annually with the plan.

Think of these similar to physical therapy. A health insurance plan may say that it will cover physical therapy, up to 60 visits per year.

Some health insurance providers write their coverage for yoga much, in the same way, covering a certain number of classes that can be used over a 12-month cycle. After the 12-months passes by, the number resets.

Every Insurance Carrier Varies

Every single insurance carrier out there is going to vary regarding what they offer for yoga coverage. As stated, some are going to give that subsidy. Some are going to cover a certain allotment of classes. There will also be other health insurance carriers that still have yoga listed as a non-traditional treatment, not covering it at all. So where does this leave you as a consumer?

There is so much variation regarding what health insurance providers offer for yoga coverage. You want to shop the market!

It is essential to keep our eyes open and use the power of the Internet to find the right health insurance plan for you.

There are so many providers out there in the crowded and competitive market that it can easily be used to your advantage. It is all about knowing what you want, making your voice heard, and only signing onto a health insurance plan when it gives you the coverage needed.

As consumers, if we want yoga to be covered as part of our health insurance, we have to ask for it! That is how change happens, and that is how so many health insurance carriers are now covering yoga classes in some form. Compare the market so that you end up with the best deal possible, the coverages you need at a value premium price point. The more you shop, the more homework you do, the easier it is going to be to get those yoga classes you love so much covered by insurance.

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