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Insurance & 3rd Party Payment Update: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Covered Benefits PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Insurance & 3rd Party Payment Update: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Covered Benefits

Summary:  Chiropractic action forces United Healthcare to rescind refusal to cover pediatric chiropractic care ... Mandate to include naturopathic services begins in Vermont, including in Medicaid ... American Specialty Health's COO White steps into presidency ... Boeing restricts access to naturopathic physicians among employees ... Complementary Healthcare Plan acknowledged by Oregon Business as key player in state's health care ... Landmark signs deal with CNCA for natural products, plus ...
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Image
Managing chiropractic for United
1.    Chiropractors Force United Healthcare to Back Down on Ban on Pediatric Chiro Coverage


An effort which unified chiropractic, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) issued a stay on what the American Chiropractic Association called UHC's "flawed and discriminatory policy restricting chiropractic care for adolescents, children and patients with headaches – pending additional review."  UHC's senior policy director Richard Justman, MD reportedly apologized for the UHC process following an October 25, 2007 meeting with its advisory panel.  A collaborative review of the literature is anticipated to with a finding within two months.

insurance coverage, naturopathic medicine
Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, VANP president
2.    Vermont Insurance Mandate for Naturopathic Services Begins, Includes Medicaid


On October 1, 2007, a new law in the State of Vermont requires that insurance companies recognize naturopathic physicians and cover office visits, diagnostic testing and conventional pharmacy prescriptions (though not supplements). Actual coverage will go into effect with renewal of policies in 2008. A notice on the website of the Vermont Association of Naturopathic Physicians clarifies that the mandate includes not only insurers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Cigna, but also Medicaid and the Vermont Health Access Plan. The decision followed a 4 year campaign. VANP president Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, asserts that the bill marks the beginning of a new era for NDs in the state:
"We are looking forward to contributing our wellness and prevention-oriented style of primary care to Vermont's health care delivery system."

Note: A downside of the mandate is that the Vermont Automobile Dealers Association has ended a pilot project in which a limited number of employees were given limited, pilot coverage of naturopathic services. (See related Integrator article.) The planned measurement of outcomes was called off.

3.    Change of Presidency at American Specialty Health


The bull in the china shop of integration of complementary healthcare with third party reimbursement, American Specialty Health, has a new president on its back. The San Diego-based firm announced in a mid-October press release that Robert White will become both president and COO. White, a former HealthNet executive, has been with ASH since 2001. George DeVries, the firm's founder, will resume the titles of chairman and CEO. The firm is a $100-million plus operation with over 13.4 million members "in specialty benefit, fitness and coaching programs."


Image 4.` Short Notes: Complementary Healthcare Plans, Landmark/CNCA, plus

Complementary Healthcare Plans of Portland, Oregon was acknowledged earlier this year as Oregon's 4th largest health plan, based on total covered members. The firm offers covered chiropractic, naturopathic and acupuncture services as well as value-added products .... Landmark Healthcare, Inc. entered an agreement with CNCA Nutritional Supplements to provide nutritional products to its members. CNCA is a product line developed through Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and used in the CTCA hospitals  ... Boeing recently delivered a setback to naturopathic physicians in Washington State, declaring them no longer part of Boeing's preferred plan. As a self-insured corporation, Boeing need not follow a state mandate that all plans include every category of licensed provider ...  ChiroSource recently announced a network access agreements with both Pacific Health Alliance and the Covenant Companies through which members have access to Concord-based company's chiropractic network ... Richard Sarnat, MD, co-founder of Alternative Medicine Integration Group recently addressed the attendees of the meeting of the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA) on the unusual joint venture between the managed care firm and a national association ...

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