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About a third of American adults use some form of complementary or alternative medicine, according to reports by the National Center for Health Statistics. We spend more than $30 billion a year out of pocket on everything from fish oil supplements to acupuncture.
However, despite those billions of dollars spent annually on alternative medicine and complementary treatments, most of these services are not currently covered by the majority of health insurers.
The majority of those out-of-pocket expenses — $14.7 billion in the most recent year studied — went to complementary and integrative health practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists. We spent another $12.8 billion on natural products, and $2.7 billion on self care approaches, such as wellness books and homeopathic medicines.
Despite billions of dollars spent annually on alternative medicine, most of these services are not currently covered by the majority of health insurers… health insurance companies still regard most alternative techniques with uncertainty.
According to the National Institute of Health, treatments that are more commonly covered by insurance include chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy. However, health insurance companies still regard most alternative techniques with uncertainty. Treatments that are not included in most traditional health plans include herbal therapy, homeopathy, applied kinesiology, and naturopathy. Though these procedures may not be covered, alternative healthcare costs could be reduced if policyholders better understood insurance policies and options.
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