Florida Health Insurance Topic:
"Finally, coverage for Yoga and other Alternative treatments..."

Health Insurance (Altertive Medicine)

There is a concerted move to make alternative medicine too eligible for health insurance coverage in the US. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa has co-sponsored a measure that would prohibit health insurers from discriminating against practitioners of nontraditional medicine, “It’s time to end the discrimination against alternative healthcare practices,’’ Harkin said at a congressional hearing.

Backers of the amendment say it could save tens of billions of dollars in the long run by providing less expensive and better alternatives to drugs and surgery in a variety of cases. The amendment was adopted by a Senate committee writing health legislation, but details are still being negotiated.

More than a third of American adults and 12% of children use these treatments, according to an NIH and CDC survey that included meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises in addition to types we mentioned earlier, Shirley S. Wang writes in Washington Post.

With hundreds of disciplines falling under the general category of alternative medicine, and with a variety of sometimes-conflicting studies about their effectiveness, there is much disagreement about the value of including such providers in a national health insurance program.

State by state, there is a wide disparity of coverage of alternative medicine. For example, Massachusetts licenses acupuncturists, and many health insurance plans cover the service, but most do so only on a limited basis, by restricting the number of visits or the dollar amount of coverage.

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