Whether they offer full coverage or discount plans, it seems insurers and employers are starting to see some benefits in offering benefits for alternative health care, according to a story at smartmoney.com.
In fact, alternative care might start to receive more attention as insurance companies continue to look at ways they can squelch the high costs of traditional medicine. For example, the story mentions that gastric bypass surgery is a worthwhile alternative to paying the costs associated with lifelong obesity.
More insurance companies are considering alternative practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists and naturopaths, according to smartmoney.com. In fact, less than 20 percent of health plans included acupuncture in 2000, whereas almost 50 percent of plans had coverage in 2004, says the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 75% of U.S. adults have tried some sort of alternative care.
Herbal and nutritional supplements, as well as homeopathic options, were mentioned as alternative care choices that are catching on with insurance companies and employers. Some employers are keeping costs down by including alternative medical coverage as a complement to traditional health care benefits packages. Discount programs or health savings accounts also can play into the mix.