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Acupuncture and Insurance Coverage

Here is the reality- most insurance providers in Ohio (and elsewhere) do not cover acupuncture treatments. It is a sad reality that so many potential patients are unable to experience the benefits of acupuncture due to cost. Just this week, I had two potential patients that wanted treatments but sadly because insurance would not cover the cost they were unable to pay out of pocket. Prevention is the best medicine and acupuncture is one of several modalities that benefits both health and well-being. According to a study in Washington state, the addition of mandated insurance coverage for acupuncture actually decreases costs in the long run due to a reduction of more expensive conventional care.

Two acupuncture bills have recently been introduced in California and Massachusetts. Both bills deal with insurance reimbursement for acupuncture services. In Massachusetts, the bill proposed mandates insurance reimbursement for acupuncture services and has a good amount of financial support. In California, the proposed bill would allow millions of Californians to have acupuncture covered in their health care service plans and require every health care service plan and health insurer, which covers hospitals, medical or surgical expenses to provide coverage to group contract holders incurred as a result of treatment by acupuncturists. If signed into law, the bill will take effect on January 1, 2012. A similar bill was shot down in 2008 by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But now with Governor Jerry Brown in office, the bill may survive the legislative process. In 1975 during his first term, Governor Brown signed a law legalizing the practice of acupuncture by licensed acupuncturists and the California Acupuncture Board was created.

This news is all positive and hopefully encourages other states to follow. Until then, I encourage everyone to give acupuncture a try whether you are suffering from pains or migraines or just want to boost your immune system and get your body back in balance. Happy Health!