The Affordable Care Act or ACA has been constantly in the news since October last year when the (largely faulty) exchange websites went live. Yes, the health care exchange rollout has been fraught with difficulty and enrollment has been challenging, but despite these issues, I personally feel the Affordable Care Act is an amazing success - over a million uninsured Americans have signed up for coverage already! It is truly is a landmark piece of legislation not only for America as a whole, but for Acupuncturists in particular.
Though insurance companies have been able to extend existing plans a little longer due to the 2 year grace period the feds announced last week, under the Affordable Care Act more people have access to Acupuncture and alternative medicine coverage in the United States than ever before. Under ACA, alternative medicine is poised to thrive because:
As to the last clause above, this kind of research is being done slowly but surely in Europe and has resulted in some great advances for Acupuncturists in Germany in particular. A study on back pain and knee arthritis called The German Acupuncture Trials showed that Acupuncture and standard care both resulted in approximately the same outcome. Subsequently, Acupuncture is now covered by socialized German healthcare for these conditions.
More studies like this conducted in (and therefore recognized by) the U.S. will result in everyone making better decisions about medical intervention at various stages. If you had a choice between arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis ($50,000 price tag) and acupuncture (6-12 visits at $70 each) which would you, and your insurance company, choose knowing the outcome would be approximately the same? Acupuncture is the clear winner for the average case - less expensive, less invasive, virtually risk free, natural and research-proven to be effective!
An Acupuncturists Perspective on the Affordable Care Act
From an Acupuncturists perspective, these things are a big win for our industry. The Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased access to Acupuncture by
The Affordable Care Act is an incredible first step towards something desperately needed in our country - true health care access for all as a national right. Is it perfect? Not quite. Is it going to continue to go through changes in the coming years? Undoubtedly. But the standard has been set and (hopefully!) there’s no going back now.
Wondering if your insurance covers Acupuncture? I’m always happy to check benefits for potential patients, so if you want to check your benefits please email me your name, date of birth and health insurance information and I’ll be happy to verify your benefits before your first visit or consultation!
Until next time,
Oregon and Washington Individual & Family Health Plans Offering Acupuncture under the Affordable Care Act
Wow, what a week its been - opening of the Health Care Exchange sites, government shut down, a new hurricane?!! Eventful to say the least.
Despite the brouhaha, the Affordable Care Act is in effect NOW and new plans are ready and available for review and enrollment. It is a landmark for our nation and fundamental shift to the way we approach health care in the U.S.. Despite the glitches and kinks, I can't help but be excited about what is to come.
10 Essential Benefits
With the Affordable Health Care Act EVERYONE has access to quality insurance that covers the basics, and "the basics" refers to 10 categories must be included in every plan nationwide:
What exactly is included in these categories is slightly different state to state, however. In Washington these essential benefits include ACUPUNCTURE, 12 visits a year in fact. This means ALL PLANS be they individual or group that are purchased in Washington state will include Acupuncture benefits. How awesome is that?
In Oregon the essential benefits category inclusions do not include Acupuncture specifically, so I've done my best to review the Individual and Family plans available in Oregon to give you a quick list of which plans include Acupuncture towards helping you choose the best alternative care benefits available.
Group plans will be subject to employer review and approval so I have not combed through those here. If you are insured through your employer, however, and will be having a coverage switch in the coming year, I highly recommend you tell HR that you would like Acupuncture benefits included in your package if at all possible. Acupuncture is usually bundled with Chiropractic and Naturopathic care, as well as Massage in some cases, so advocating for alternative care coverage will help you get the best wellness maintenance and stress reduction treatment options out of your new benefits.
Oregon Individual & Family Plans Covering Acupuncture in 2014
Many of the insurance websites have been having glitches with the high volume of traffic this week, and some sites just don't list every benefit online, so my list isn't perfect but its as good as it can be in this time and place.
Here, therefore, is a list of Oregon Individual and Family Plans currently including Acupuncture coverage:
If your insurer isn't listed, don't worry. Remember that this is a review of Individual and Family plans only and does not include group insurance plans many of which will have options to include Acupuncture and alternative care through your employer.
You can review plans and get quotes through the exchange websites here:
Rebecca Accepts Insurance!
Want to make sure treatments at All Ways Well are covered? They are! I am a preferred provider with all the networks listed above except for OHP.
Stay Tuned! Until next time.
As further information about alternative care under the Affordable Care Act is available I will endeavor to keep posting updates on my blog so please stay tuned. If you have questions about your care or coverage and treatment at All Ways Well please don't hesitate to contact me via email anytime.
Have additional questions you'd like answered that I can help with or resources you need help finding? Just ask in the comments section below and I'll be happy to do my best to help you.
Yours in Health,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.