National Association of Attorneys General Call on Insurance to Expand Acupuncture Coverage
In a letter dated September 18, 2017, a letter from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) was sent to the President/CEO of American Health Insurance Plans asking that insurance review their coverage and payment policies in lieu of the current lack of coverage and payment for integrative medical treatments, such as acupuncture. By expanding coverage to include integrative medicine modalities, this will help encourage primary care providers to choose alternatives to prescribing prescription pain relievers known as opioids. Without coverage and payment, healthcare providers are going to be unable to refer patients out as their patients would have to pay out-of-pocket while opioid prescriptions still remain covered. Expansion of integrative medicine coverage would allow PCPs not just to refer these alternatives to opioids (such as for pain management), but allow patients to actually utilize these alternatives as well. As was stated in the letter, "When patients seek treatment for any of the myriad conditions that cause chronic pain, doctors should be encouraged to explore and prescribe effective non-opioid alternatives, ranging from non-opioid medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care." This letter was signed by an impressive 37 state and territorial attorneys general.
If you are looking for acupuncture coverage in your state, asking for coverage from your insurance companies or even HR department at work with attachment of this letter may be a great place to start.