Does Health Insurance Cover Chiropractic Care?

Do you have health insurance? If you do and you need chiropractic treatments, the chances are good that your insurance will cover at least some of the chiropractic care you need.

Approximately 20 million Americans visit chiropractors ever year for help with a variety of issues. That according to the NCCIH, which also estimates that those people spend about $4 billion dollars a year for the care they receive.

That might seem like a lot of money, but it would be higher if many insurance policies didn’t cover chiropractic care.

Many insurance carriers will cover chiropractic visits when they are to help a patient with the treatment of a short-term condition or injury. However, they typically do not pay for long-term or maintenance care.

In this article, we’ll explain how insurance plans typically cover chiropractic treatments, why they don’t usually cover maintenance chiropractic care, other limitations that may apply, and what your options are if your health insurer won’t pay for chiropractic treatments.

How Insurers Cover Chiropractic Care

Most children and adults who have insurance coverage have a policy through their employer or a marketplace plan they acquired through the Affordable Care Act. Let’s talk about each of those options and how they may impact your coverage.

Workplace insurance plans often cover some chiropractic treatments under specific circumstances. It’s difficult to generalize since there are so many different plans in place. However, it’s typical for employer plans to cover chiropractic visits if they are:

  • Medically necessary to treat an injury or condition
  • Prescribed by a doctor (If an HMO plan)

It’s common for there to be other limitations, and we’ll talk about those in the next section.

If your insurance is a marketplace or off-market policy you bought through the Affordable Care Act, your plan may also cover chiropractic care, even though the ACA does not require plans to provide chiropractic coverage.

The ACA does require plans to cover 10 essential health benefits, and one of them is rehabilitative and habilitative services. In some plans, that includes treatment by a chiropractor. Some states require coverage of chiropractic care, while others include it in their so-called “benchmark” plan, which means it must be included.

What Are Some Common Limitations on Chiropractic Care?

While many insurance plans provide coverage for chiropractic care, they also impose some limitations on the kind of care and the amount of care an individual may receive. Here are some of the most common limitations:

  • You must have a referral from your doctor for the care to be eligible (If an HMO plan)
  • Your doctor and/or chiropractor must create and follow a detailed care plan
  • You may be required to use in-network or approved chiropractors (if no out of network benefits)
  • There may be a cap on how many times you can use a chiropractor per month or per policy year

It’s important to remember that insurance companies are focused on medical necessity. If your doctor recommends chiropractic care – and if they can make a compelling case that it’s an alternative to something more expensive – your insurance company is likely to cover it.

Why Don’t Insurance Carriers Cover Maintenance Chiropractic Care?

One of the most common questions people ask about insurance and chiropractic care is why their policy doesn’t cover routine care.

The primary reason is that insurance companies want to see steady improvement when they are paying for treatments. Visiting a chiropractor can help you avoid future problems, but the insurance model is geared toward fixing health issues, not preventing them.

Does that mean you should assume your policy won’t cover chiropractic? Absolutely not. If you’re not sure what’s covered, check your policy and then call to make sure you understand how much is covered and what’s not covered.

What Can I Do if My Plan Doesn’t Cover Chiropractic Care?

What happens if you check your policy and learn that your plan doesn’t cover chiropractic care at all?

That’s a question that some patients must deal with. Chiropractic visits can cost between $30 and $200 depending on the chiropractor’s location and the treatment needed.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Talk to your doctor to see if they can smooth things over with your insurance carrier
  • Talk to the insurance company yourself to argue your case
  • If you can afford it, buy a supplemental insurance policy that covers chiropractic care
  • Talk to your chiropractor about a price reduction or payment plan

Chiropractors want to help their patients, and many are willing to work with patients whose insurance doesn’t cover the treatments they need.

Can Acupuncture Treatments Relieve Work-Related Stress?

When you think of Wall Street brokers having a power lunch, you probably imagine a dark-paneled dining room, steaks, and martinis. That’s the cultural vision of what powerful people do at lunchtime. However, there’s a new trend that’s developing and it’s one that might surprise you. Some of Wall Street’s most successful brokers are blocking out time in the middle of the work day for acupuncture.

While acupuncture might not seem like an obvious choice for financial movers and shakers, there’s actually a very good reason for its popularity. Acupuncture is commonly used as a treatment for pain, but it also provides reliable relief from the stress and tension of work.

The Rising Popularity of Acupuncture

Irina Logman is the founder of Advanced Holistic Center, a health and wellness practice based in New York. The Center has multiple locations around the country, but its Manhattan locations are the ones seeing a big uptick in stress-related appointments.

She says that the Center’s main source of income are New Yorkers working in finance. “I’ve definitely noticed an overall growing trend. When I began my practice in Brooklyn 15 years ago, I never imagined that I’d be in the hub of Wall Street treating the finance crowd… but, it makes sense.”

She points out that people who work in finance are often overworked and stressed out. Some may pop a pill or two to help them manage non-physical symptoms of anxiety, depression, or insomnia, but there’s an increasing awareness that medication is only a short-term solution.

The trend, it seems, is toward seeking out holistic and natural lifestyle changes that can help people balance their lives and emotions, leaving them better equipped to handle work challenges and still have the mental and emotional energy to enjoy their lives away from work, too.

Many of the Center’s clients book appointments during their lunch hours. It’s a way of alleviating stress and tension without needing to take a long lunch or fit an evening appointment into their family obligations.

How Does Acupuncture Relieve Stress?

The key to understanding the acupuncture trend of Wall Street is understanding how acupuncture works to relieve stress. There’s ample research into the use of acupuncture for pain relief and management, but its use as a treatment for stress is not as well-established.

People who receive acupuncture treatments for pain often report an elevated sense of relaxation and well-being after a treatment. The explanation for this is that acupuncture, when done properly:

  • Removes pain by accessing pressure points and sending healing messages to the body
  • Raises the patient’s pain threshold, thus reducing their negative reactions to pain
  • Releases happy hormones called endorphins into the body

Endorphins are the same hormones that cause the condition known as “runner’s high.” They can be released by any vigorous exercise.

When your body or mind are stressed, you’re in “fight or flight” mode, which means that your body’s sympathetic nervous system is at the wheel. When that happens, it’s virtually impossible to relax because your entire body is poised for combat.

Endorphins flip a switch in your body and put the parasympathetic nervous system, or relaxation system, in control. As stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol leave your body, you’ll experience a subsequent relaxation of your muscles and your mind.

The Keys to a Good Acupuncture Relationship

Logman points out that even when Wall Street’s power brokers seek out acupuncture, there’s a learning curve involved. After all, acupuncture is an invasive procedure. People who aren’t accustomed to it may need some time to acclimate.

For that reason, she recommends having a good talk with your acupuncturist before initiating treatment. “Especially for first-timers, [there are] many different sensations. The practitioner should always create an environment where the patient feels free to describe these sensations and ask if they are normal.”

For patients who prefer a less-invasive procedure, Logman sometimes recommends using heat lamps that hover over the most stressed and painful parts of the body. As patients progress, she may move on to something called e-stim, which partners traditional acupuncture needles with a gentle electric impulses to stimulate the muscles.

Whatever your treatment preferences, it’s always a good idea to choose a practitioner who makes you feel comfortable.

Conclusion

Wall Street’s elite are seeking out alternative treatments for stress. While medications that treat anxiety, depression, and pain may offer short-term solutions, there’s a growing trend toward holistic treatments that can relieve stress and anxiety without the use of prescription drugs. Acupuncture may be the best way to keep stress at bay.

Acupuncture and Cycling Injuries

Spending a lot of time on a bicycle causes a lot of injuries. We’re not referring to the kinds that happen when you fall off your bike. Instead, these are injuries that happen due to repetitive motions. Usually, these types of aches and pains occur in people who work in factories, performing the same type of work over and over. However, anyone who spends a lot of time doing the same movements is prone to them, especially cyclists.

Since cyclists spend a lot of time in the same positions which is why forearm, knee, wrist, back, neck, and even tailbone injuries happen. The more time you spend on a bike, the worse these problems get. Most “mature” riders are inclined to having pain and anyone who travels long distances by bike can end up hurting too.

How to Prevent Overuse Injuries

Thankfully, there are some things that can be done to alleviate these aches and pains. One important method involves staying hydrated. The more fluids you drink, the better. Water, in particular, keeps your tissues flexible. Proper stretching routines (even on the days that you don’t ride your bike) can help as well.

On top of this, the type of gear that you purchase matters since well-made items will make you more comfortable and decrease the number of injuries that you get. You might be tempted to buy the cheapest gear available such as gloves, cycling shoes, and shorts but this actually can cause injuries. Remember that high-quality biking gear is designed to make you more comfortable while riding. It can also help your posture, which will relieve some of the strain on your lower back.

Using Acupuncture to Heal Cycling Overuse Injuries

How can acupuncture help? Well, part of it is in the timing (it’s best to care for these injuries before they become chronic, daily occurrences) but the rest lies in the procedure itself.

Acupuncture is a procedure that consists of inserting tiny needles into the skin. It provides quick pain relief and can even reduce tissue inflammation. This is a natural approach to pain control and tissue healing without the use of any pain medication.

This procedure can also help speed up the healing process. Acupuncture is designed to stimulate blood flow, especially when those needles are applied to an injured area of your body. It’s good for overuse injuries and those caused by acute trauma. The addition of nutrients to the area, brought about by the procedure, helps as well.

On top of this, acupuncture can relax any tightened muscles. A muscle tightens up in order to protect it from further injury. These tight muscles alone can cause pain, even without any additional catalysts. When acupuncture needles are inserted into the tissues surrounding those muscles, they will relax. In general, this procedure is good for muscles in the lower back, hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings. This increased flexibility comes with an added benefit – it will help prevent future injuries, even ones caused by overuse.

Many cyclists suffer from pinched nerves. Whether the problem stems from scar tissue, muscles, bones, or even adhesions, these pinched nerves are tough to heal. However, acupuncture can help a great deal, relaxing those areas and calming the nerves.

As you can see, there are many benefits to acupuncture, especially for cyclists suffering from overuse injuries.

Reaves Chiropractic