When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, many people have misconceptions about what they cover. A common misunderstanding is that insurance cards can be used like credit cards to pay for all health related expenses. This, unfortunately, is not true. In this article I will dig deeper into one of the top 3 questions that all chiropractors hear from patients…”Do Chiropractors Take Insurance?”
Proactive vs. Reactive Coverage
I wish I could say that insurance paid for proactive living, such as gym memberships, supplements, mobile thermography, organic food, massage therapy, acupuncture, or any other procedure that would be deemed proactive. I honestly believe our country would be a wealthier place not only from the financial side but as well as the happier side if insurance covered those procedures.
Currently, insurance will pay for medical procedures including drugs, early detection tests, shots, or surgery. However, most of the time, these courses of action can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is not coincidental that people who eat paleolithic diet, workout in short bursts of 15 minutes, get adjusted as part of a lifestyle, regularly get 6-8 hours of sleep each night, and are passionate about their lives rarely get sick or see medical doctors. People who take these healthy measures are actually utilizing “healthcare”, whereas insurance companies cover what I call “sick-care”. It is not because they do not believe in the medical doctor, but they have the similar viewpoint as me and understand we live in a sick-care world.
I am concerned about the motivations behind the astronomical spending on “sick care”. There is big money in these procedures, and many big businesses will not thrive by paying for preventive care or TRUE healthcare.
So, Do Chiropractors Take Insurance?
By now you are wondering when I’ll cover your question, here it comes. If someone is coming to a chiropractic office for maintenance care, or preventative care, then they must pay out of pocket. Insurance will only cover chiropractic if the person is experiencing pain or limited functioning (i.e for medical necessity). Too often, many insurance companies will constantly review chiropractors’ notes to see if clients are going for preventative or reactive care. From my experience, they are more likely to cover reactive care versus preventative.
If you have been to a corrective chiropractor then you know pain is only a small percentage of the issue, and the PROBLEM is where we want to focus. For example, if front view of the spine is twisted, and the curves on the side view are lost then, we know there is a structural problem. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will only cover care once there is PAIN but NOT necessarily when there is a problem, which is why they limit the number of visits a person can utilize per year at a chiropractic office. At my office in Atlanta we specialize in corrective chiropractic care, 10-20 visits in a years period will simply scratch the surface of the work we need to achieve optimal results for our patients.
In a future blog post I will discuss the different phases of care to help explain why it takes time with proactive care.
Become Proactive, Stop Waiting For Reactive Care
A person who is overweight and pre-diabetic wants to live a healthier lifestyle. The insurance company will not pay for functional nutrition counseling, healthy food, gym memberships, or other resources to lose weight before becoming diabetic. However, once this individual becomes diabetic, insurance kicks in to gear and pays for all medicine and other garbage techniques used to keep Type II diabetes which ironically is almost 100% reversible. Further, if this person has heart problems the insurance company will not pay for fish oil, personal trainers, or other supplements, but they will be happy to pay for statin or blood pressure drugs, which run in the hundreds of dollars for people without insurance.
If we want to get serious about our health, then we must become proactive and realize ALL the possible things we can do to maintain a healthy life; they are investments in our futures. Insurance may not cover these procedures, BUT they are the tools that will keep us from using those plastic insurance cards with poor benefits. As deductibles continually skyrocket, co-pays increase, and premiums grow at exponential rates, the best advice I can give anyone is to look at proactive care as deposits in one’s health bank account. A person’s goal should be to NOT use the insurance card, as it is only good for when procedures are medically necessary.
I hope this article helps you better understand insurance companies relationship towards proactive care and why chiropractors do take insurance, but only when reactive. I tell all my patients that we need to begin working with the body rather than against it to ensure it is functioning at its optimum level. If you believe the same, please feel free to share this article and/or post a comment with your story below.