Chiropractic Insurance Coverage Information and Options

Western medicine has evolved tremendously since the days of Hippocrates in ancient Greece, its practitioners driven by their desire to heal and to help and to understand the workings of the body. Through this evolution, modern medicine has encountered other approaches to health and healing, sometimes dismissing them and at other times embracing them over time. One such practice which is gaining more mainstream recognition by both the general population and by doctors is chiropractic care, even to the point where chiropractic insurance has become relatively common.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Founded by D.D. Palmer in the 1890's, chiropractic care is currently considered to be a kind of alternative medicine which concentrates on mechanical problems of the musculoskeletal system, with emphasis on the spine. The basis of their field is the supposition that misalignment of the vertebra, called subluxation, causes negative effects in the entire nervous system. By means of manual manipulations of the bones of the body, especially the back and neck, and soft tissues and joints, chiropractors claim to be able to correct these misalignments and relieve all manner of symptoms such as headaches, backaches, and a large array of health problems, especially those related to physical trauma.

Chiropractic and the Medical Establishment

Since its inception, chiropractic care and its practitioners have been at odds with mainstream medicine, as most doctors and scientists dismissed the idea of subluxation causing such a wide range of problems, and especially that manipulation of the body could address it. However, as time has passed, the general public, and a growing segment of the medical establishment, including insurance companies, have begun accepting the demonstrated evidence of the benefits of chiropractic care. Although still not accepted as a branch of medicine with its own doctorate designation, chiropractors attend universities and attain specialized degrees, and are recognized as experienced health practitioners.

Health Insurance and Chiropractic

The insurance industry has reacted almost schizophrenic ally to chiropractic: health insurance has ignored it for years, whereas the auto insurance industry has recognized it and encouraged accident victims to visit chiropractors for decades. Car accident victims with whiplash and other neck and spinal injuries have long been able to visit either a chiropractor or physical therapist for their problems on the insurance company's bill, and have gotten relief from it. Major health insurers, in response to the growing power and acceptance of chiropractic care, have started offering coverage for visits to these kinds of practitioners, and even individual policies at times.

Do You Have Coverage?

At this time, coverage of chiropractic care is handled on a company-by-company basis, so if this kind is wanted or needed, policyholders should check with their carrier. Those that do insure chiropractic visits do so on a limited basis (a certain number of visits per incident), and frequently patients need a referral from their primary care physician. To get around the limitations on visits, consider using the flexible health expense accounts many employers and insurers offer to cover the overage, and speak to the chiropractor involved with the treatment, regarding discount plans. Some insurance companies offer stand alone chiropractic insurance, but these policies are presently hard to find in the U.S.

Chiropractic insurance is likely a trend that will hit U.S. soil in the next decade, as many other developed nations such as the U.K., Canada, South Africa and France offer this kind of insurance, as well as covering chiropractic visits under their comprehensive policies. Those who have visited knowledgeable and honest chiropractors have felt the positive results of this kind of care, which is non-invasive and relatively inexpensive-something insurers are sure to catch onto eventually.