'Insurance' is a dirty word
Mention the words 'health insurance' to about any acupuncturist and you'll almost always get a death stare, eye roll or be on the receiving end of a slight panic attack. The topic garners a lot of fodder among holistic health practitioners and many lose sleep at the thought of attacking the gauntlet of co-pays, coverage, plans and billing.
It's a Bright, New World!
It's important to remember that in many places acupuncture is newly legal. You would think 4,000 years of history would cut us in front of the line for legality. In Illinois, where I practice, acupuncture only became "Legal" in 2005, with previous practitioner's needing a doctor's referral to practice. Since Chinese medicine arrived in the United States in the 1970's, much of its use has been completely illegal, with many practitioner's setting up shop "underground" hoping not to get raided by the police... because nothing is more dangerous than tiny needles reducing inflammation. Luckily, we are in a new era, with a greater following and increasing amounts of people willing to give needles a chance. But this newly legal status has only put us behind in the insurance realm, making it more difficult for patient's to receive insurance-covered acupuncture treatments. It's time to play catch-up.
Restrictions on your insurance policy or company
Speaking of playing catch-up, many practitioner's don't take insurance because there are simply not enough plans that cover acupuncture. This is where you come in. Write letters to your insurance companies asking why they don't cover acupuncture. If you receive benefits from your employer this is especially important because you need to let your company know that there is a high demand for acupuncture coverage among its employees! With large numbers of employees touting the benefits of acupuncture and asking for it to be a covered service, an employer is more likely consider adding it to the company insurance plan.
Acupuncturists aren't covered
Another grievance many Licensed acupuncturists have with insurance is that some plans will cover "acupuncture" but not when it's performed by an actual licensed acupuncturist. While I highly respect and admire Chiropractors and Medical Doctors, unless they have been through the same rigorous training that a licensed acupuncturist has, then let us do the work. I am unable to perform adjustments or prescribe medications because I'm highly unqualified. The same should go for other medical practitioner's attempting to practice acupuncture. Let me do the dirty work---that's what I'm trained for.
Help an acupuncturist out
If you want acupuncture to be covered by your insurance company, help us out! Write letters to your insurance company and your employer, change your insurance plan, start talking. The more people who demand coverage, the more insurance companies will listen. Times are changing with more patients understanding the benefits of acupuncture--- so now its time to get everyone covered and we can all benefit.