How to Save Money on Acupuncture in San Francisco

How to Save Money on Acupuncture in San Francisco

People often come to us saying things like, “I’d love to try acupuncture but it’s so expensive!”. We get it - that can be true if you’re paying fully out-of-pocket (see our study on acupuncture pricing in the Bay Area here).

But we have good news! There are ways to make acupuncture more affordable. Here’s a few that we recommend to patients:

1. Use insurance. Find an in-network practitioner.

In California, 100% of insurance plans have some kind of acupuncture coverage, it’s actually the law! However, the amount of coverage you get depends heavily on your specific carrier and the health issue you’re dealing with. With some plans, you get a certain number of free sessions a year, with others you’ll have a smaller co-pay, etc. Learn more about average prices and how to check your coverage.

At Rupa Health we can help you find an in-network acupuncturist who fits your needs!

Not sure what in-network means? Found an acupuncturist and confused about the wording they use around insurance? Learn how to decipher the different terms and phrasing around insurance.

2. Ask your acupuncturist for packages.

Most acupuncturists are willing to work with you and lower the price when you buy several sessions at once. This can be a great option, because it’s actually advised to go several times when you’re first getting acupuncture. It can take a few sessions to see the full results.

The length of your package can coincide with how many sessions your acupuncturist expects to see results in.

3. Try community acupuncture.

Group-based, community acupuncture is a model gaining in popularity because it’s a lower-cost alternative. It works on a sliding-fee scale, meaning you pay what you can afford, generally ranging from $20 - $60 a session.

In community acupuncture, you’ll be in a room with several people in comfortable, reclining chairs. The acupuncturist circles the room and treats everyone for the hour - using a specific technique that only inserts needles on your arms, feet, and head / face. (Meaning, you won’t disrobe.) There are also companies like Modern Acupuncture that do this.

4. Use HSA / FSA

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spendings Account (FSA), you’re in luck! Both can be used for acupuncture treatments in California. In essence, this means you can spend pre-tax dollars on your healthcare, saving you around 20% on your acupuncture treatments!

5. Join a Rupa Circle.

Rupa Circles are part of our community engagement here at Rupa Health. At a Rupa Circle, you can meet an acupuncturist in-person, ask them anything (even embarrassing questions!), and try acupuncture in a calm group setting. The best part: meeting other curious people who care about health and holistic healing! It’s also a great way to engage with the Rupa Health team and ask them any questions you might have.

I’m in! How do I find a great acupuncturist?

We’re here to help! Over 80% of our practitioners are in network with at least one insurance provider. We also match you based on location, specialty, personality, and more. We don’t stop until you are happy with your practitioner, guaranteed. Message us at Rupa Health to get started.

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References & Further Reading

Utilization of Group-Based, Community Acupuncture Clinics, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Acupuncture is an “Essential Health Benefit” in California for 2014, UCLA Center for East-West Medicine


At Rupa Health, we are on a mission to make integrative and alternative healthcare more accessible. We are passionate about finding you trusted holistic healthcare information you can trust.

Are you a patient looking for an integrative practitioner? We’re here to help! All of our Rupa Health certified practitioners go through a multi-level vetting process to curate the perfect match(es) for our patients. If you’re an integrative practitioner or MD looking to know more, please contact us here. We’d love to connect!

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