Americans Spend $34 Billion a Year for Herbals, Chiropractors, Other Therapies

As reported by America’s Health Insurance Plans:

Americans spend more than a 10th of their out-of-pocket health care dollars on Chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, herbal remedies and other alternative medicine, according to the first national estimate of such spending in more than a decade.

As previously reported at this blog, all this will be covered under Obama Care if Senator Tom Harkin gets his way.

Comments (4)

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  1. Brian says:

    It is about time that healthcare is fully covered rather than the status quo where people have to spend extra money to provide for healthcare while insurance steald them blind. Alternative medicine IS healthcare and has a historical record of being both effective and generally less toxic to the human body.
    Medicines have extreme side effects and can actually cause illness. That is why insurance and pharma fight so hard against alternative medicine.
    1) It reduces their profits
    2) It destroys their monopoly over our health
    3) It reduces drug-toxicity and reduces the reliance on over-priced medications or treatments.

    If insurance were smart they would already have included these services in coverage. But scince it isn’t profit effective to actually reduce reliance on medicalservices, these services are usually not covered.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    One reason insurers do not cover alternative medicine is because alternative medicine has too few objective standards. If your cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure is too high, there are well-established protocols for initiating therapy. Many alternative therapies do not fit this model. Indeed, many alterative medicine treatments are labor intensive. Third-party reimbursement would jack up the cost and make them subject to provider-induced demand. Instead of paying $50 per month for the beta blocker, Tenormin (or $5 for its generic Atenolol) to control high blood pressure, patients might be encouraged by their herbalist, chiropractor or dietician to schedule a monthly appointment at a cost of $100 or more. When alternative therapies failed to control hypertension, additional visits may be required –- such as a weekly massage with hot rocks and a soothing spa treatment. Maybe (as a last resort) a PhD in anatomy & physiology could accompany me to my health club once a week. It all sounds good if someone else is paying the tab.

    I don’t have a problem with people seeking alternative treatments. They just need to use funds from their Health Savings Account. Unfortunately, would-be reformers hope to take this option away from us.

  3. Brian says:

    While all of what you say makes sense, I would argue that the main reason for insurance refusing alternative medicine is more because of profits. Alternative medicine is often less costly, to the consumer, than conventional, chemical medicine is. That means there isn’t as much money for the insurance groups therefore they won’t cover them. Also since medications are usually highly toxic and actually perpetuates illness, this reduces dependance on conventional medicine and reduces profits. That is the main concern and the main reason that insurance refuses to cover alternative medicines.
    Alternative medicine has a longer track-record than western medicine. It has proven itself to be less toxic and equally or more effective than conventional therapies. It is because of this that insurance refuses to cover these procedures. Is there room for mis-use? Certainly but the example of a alternative therapy that costs $100, even if used 4 times a month is cheaper than going to the doctor which costs 2-3 hundred a visit and then the costs of medications on top of that and your monthly health costs far exceed even $400 a month. Besides which doctors also have “standing appointments” and so go visdit that doctor 2 or 3 times a month ands alternative therapies are still cheaper.

    And again you talk about someone else paying the tab…. but if I am paying my premiums then it is ME that is paying my tab, not someone else. The charge, by insurance/Pharma, for covering the un-insured is ludicrous. Hospitals make back their losses yearly, doctors write off their losses yearly. Their un-covered costs are covered. THis is just one way for insurance to cahrge you for nothing. It is pure profit based on a lie.

  4. Bart Ingles says:

    Wow. Maybe it’s time to go organic after all: