More Americans See Non-Medical Care as Cost Saver

The above headline comes from a feature article in the January 6, 2005 issue of Investors Business Daily. The article starts off by stating that many consumers traditionally used non-medical forms of healthcare, they termed alternative care, when dissatisfied with traditional medical care. However, they note that more people are choosing non-medical forms of health care because of the cost savings.

According to a survey released in December 2004 from the centre for Studying Health System Change (HSC), about 6 million Americans turned to, what they called “complementary and alternative medicine”, known as CAM, to treat conditions such as chronic pain and depression because conventional medicine was too pricey. The article noted that the 6 million represented about 13% of all those who used non-medical care, did so mainly for the cost savings.

Health System Change (HSC) health researcher Ha Tu commented, “With health-care costs definitely continuing to outpace inflation and wage growth, more and more people will find conventional medicine unaffordable.” He continued, “We’ll find the 6 million number growing and more people turning to CAM because they see it as an inexpensive alternative.”

The study found that those using non-medical care because of cost concerns were four times as likely to be uninsured as those not influenced by price. They also noted that these people are more likely to be in the lower income ranges. However, the story did note that the use of non-medical care is growing anyway among all users.

Last year they estimated that consumers spent $54 billion on non-medical care. HSC research director Patrick Rea, further explained that $54 billion, $34 billion went to all types of alternative services such as chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy and massage therapy, up from $25.5 billion in 1999.