Not so very long ago, conventional health insurance wouldn’t cover acupuncture, acupressure, or even normal chiropractic care. Today, all of those procedures, especially chiropractic treatment, are usually covered, but you might have to fight for the coverage. Here are a few things you should know about using your health insurance for chiropractic care.
Before You Go
- If your need for chiropractic care is related to an injury at work or a car accident, you should see if worker’s compensation insurance or your car insurance will cover you, before you file a claim against your health insurance. In the case of an auto accident, if the other driver is at fault, your care may be covered by their auto insurance.
- If your health insurance is with an HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization) you’ll probably have to see an in-network chiropractor in order to get the maximum coverage from your health insurer. Even if you go out of network, you will probably need a referral from your primary care physician before your health insurance will cover your treatment. As well, you’re likely to be limited to a certain number of visits.
Once You’re There
- Be sure you give a complete medical history at the chiropractor’s office, and answer their questionnaire’s honestly. When it comes to this kind of treatment, what the practitioner doesn’t know can hurt you. This is especially important if you have had prior injuries.
- Even if you have excellent health insurance, chiropractic care can be expensive. Always be certain to get a written treatment plan and a detailed estimate, and run it by your primary care physician if you have any concerns.
- Ask questions. If an adjustment seems dangerous or a procedure is unfamiliar, ask the chiropractor to explain it so that you understand exactly what they’re doing.
- Speak Up. If something hurts more than you think it should, tell the chiropractor. They’re not telepathic.
If Your Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover Chiropractors
If your insurance plan doesn’t cover chiropractors, there are still a few options if you really need that kind of care. If your primary physician agrees that you need chiropractic treatment, the two of you can work together to make your insurance company cover your treatment. Generally this will require a lot of paperwork – documenting injuries, writing letters, etc.
If you don’t have that kind of time (or patience) you can pay for chiropractic with either a health care specific credit card, like G.E. Capital’s “Care Credit” which gives you interest-free payments for the first six to twelve months, or with a flexible spending account through your employer. You’re still paying for your treatment, but at least you won’t be breaking the bank to get the care you need.
Chiropractic care is becoming increasingly mainstream. If your current insurer doesn’t cover it, switching plans may be an option as well.