Alternative Medicine Gaining Acceptance, Says Study

A story by John Dorschner of Knight Ridder News Service and published in the January 30, 2005 issue of the Miami Herald reported on the huge increase of insurance companies covering, what they termed, “Alternative Medicine”. The story reports that this activity is now a $30 billion industry.

Some insurance programs, such as Vista Healthplan, based in Hollywood, Fla., has even announced a discount program for its members of up to 30 percent to encourage usage of some 30 alternative programs. Steve Russell, a Vista vice president commented on a new program where seniors enrolled in Vista can get a $25 voucher to try alternative care. He noted, “Most of them don’t know about these things. Basically, we’re encouraging them to step over the line.” He continued, “To increase their mobility, their flexibility, to get out and try new things.”

Santiago Leon, a Miami health insurance broker who has studied the field extensively stated, “Complementary medicine is going mainstream quickly. Part of the impulse is therapeutic. Part of it is economic.”

John Dorschner, author of the article noted that chiropractic care may not even be considered alternative anymore. He stated “Chiropractic, once considered alternative, is now considered mainstream, or nearly so. A chiropractor’s adjustment of a back, or a few minutes of massage therapy, when effective, costs a fraction of what back surgery does. Eighty-seven percent of firms offering health insurance now have benefits for chiropractic, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.”