To tip or not to tip: medically prescribed massage therapy - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Do you tip for medically prescribed/insurance covered massage therapy?
Yes, I tip. A massage is a massage. 2 16.67%
No, a prescribed massage treatment plan is medical/clinical in nature and should not be tipped. 8 66.67%
Other (please explain) 2 16.67%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I have upper back issues, and my doctor and I thought that massage therapy would help the problem. My insurance plan covers a limited number of doctor-prescribed massages a year, and I will be going to see a therapist weekly for 12-16 weeks in conjunction with other things to help relieve the pain and stiffness.
I will get the massage therapy at a clinic that specializes in several styles of massage, and they do bill medical insurance for doctor-prescribed massage.

I am used to recreational or relaxation massage: non-insurance, going-because-it-feels-nice, cash payment with a 15-20% tip. I always tip for this kind of massage. However, the medical massage is a different territory, and I am not sure whether or not I am expected to tip. It is a health care provider prescribed, insurance-billed treatment plan. I never tip my chiropractor, doctor, dentist, or physical therapist. (And while it is easy to see insurance-covered massage as "a free massage: you may as well tip" it really isn't. There is a deductible to meet before insurance kicks in, a $13 co-pay per massage, and of course the monthly premiums to have insurance in the first place.)

When I did a Google search I got answers all over the place. Some that said it is not appropriate or expected to tip for a medical massage, and some that said "a massage is a massage" and should always be tipped. What do you all think?

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#2 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 05:25 PM
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I voted "Other." I sometimes get a mini-massage at my chiro visits and I don't tip. I only pay my co-pay to the chiro plus the extra fee for the massage. But I don't think that someone shouldn't tip in that situation. In that office, some people come in just for relaxation massages too. I think it's up to the individual. My rationale is: I don't tip the chiro either, why would I tip this other person? I am coming to their office for a treatment.

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#3 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 05:29 PM
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I voted no. I had massage in conjunction with physical therapy and the place had a sign at the check in desk that noted that tipping was not permitted.

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#4 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I may have answered my own question! I emailed the clinic, and the owner wrote back and said that per their agreement with the insurance companies they are not allowed to accept tips for billed insurance transactions. Now that I think about it I believe that massage is billed to the insurance companies at a higher rate than the standard non-insurance massage. Perhaps the increased cost is factored in because tips are not allowed?

I did not ask about non-insurance billed medical massage tip policy.. Perhaps I'll ask about that at my appointment.
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#5 of 5 Old 02-22-2012, 04:59 PM
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no don't tip for a medical massage. you don't tip your doctor or your pharmacist. a medical massage is completley different than a spa massage. It is a different skill set and it is going to feel different.

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