This article is written by Yamileth Medina from VitalOne Health Insurance Blog. Yamileth is an up-and-coming expert on health and helping people decide on a health insurance plan. She lives in Miami, FL.
Advocates of alternative medicine and natural health care have long struggled to find health insurance coverage that includes their preferred treatments.
Why is this the case? In the past, there have been few scientifically controlled studies on the effectiveness of these treatments–despite many positive ancecdotes. Health insurance companies want to save money, and therefore do not want to cover anything that they believe doesn’t work.
Fortunately, that scenario is changing for the better. Experiments have proven the benefits of massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal and other forms of natural and alternative treatments. As a result, 14 out of the 18 major health insurers in the United States cover common homeopathic treatments.
In order to find a health insurance plan that fits your needs, you must do your research and ask questions. That advice is no different for those committed to natural living. Remember that more comprehensive coverage is generally associated with higher monthly premiums.
Find out if any health plan you are considering offers the level of coverage you want; some may only include a limited number of visits per year, or simply include a discount for practicioners’ fees.
In addition, keep in mind any other limitations a policy may have. Typical limitations include coverage that only applies when the insurer deems the treatment medically necessary or for certain health conditions, as well as the requirement that any practicioners are licensed by their particular governing board.
Some insurers have provider networks, which often consist of both conventional and alternative doctors and facilities. The insurance company has negotiated significantly cheaper fees from those providers, in exchange for a guaranteed volume of patients. If you already have a regular alternative physician, make sure that he or she is in the network in order to maximize your savings. If not, you must either go out-of-network and pay the full cost yourself (instead of just a nominal co-payment) or choose a new provider.
Some natural health treatments are more mainstream (and therefore more likely to be covered) than others. Since a high-deductible health insurance plan allows for greater consumer choice and flexibility, it may be the right solution for you. While you will continue paying for your natural health visits and prescriptions out-of-pocket, that money will first be deposited into a Health Savings Account (HSA) tax-free, therefore saving you money.
At the same time, such plans offer catastrophic coverage for traditional medicine during emergencies, when you are most likely to use it.
Many fear that healthcare reform will have a negative impact on natural health fans. The recently passed law has an emphasis on effectiveness testing in order to eliminate wasteful health spending, which some fear will leave alternative and natural remedies out in the cold.
As a natural health supporter, some states are more amenable to your viewpoint. Health plans in Washington state are considered especially accepting of alternative health solutions. Regardless of the state you reside in, you shouldn’t give up hope on receiving the type of health care you want and deserve.