***[article most relevant to US citizens seeking services of a naturopathic doctor & how to use their insurance benefits for such services]***
Alternative medicine has been seeing some significant rises in popularity. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 38.3 percent of U.S. adults were using complementary and alternative medicine in 2007. And in 2015, CNN reported that one-third of Americans were using some form of alternative medicine, ranging from probiotics to fish oil to yoga. So it’s a given that naturotherapy and naturopathy are becoming more common terms in the public lexicon, and may be popping up more in general practice.
The basics of naturotherapy and naturopathy
Put in the most basic of terms, naturotherapy is an alternative medicine that doesn’t use any pharmaceutical products or surgeries, electing to heal the body through natural methods like herbal medicine, fasting, massage, diet, lifestyle changes, deep breathing, etc. The basic philosophy is that the body must maintain equilibrium, and an out-of-balance body will cause illnesses to manifest. So naturotherapy sets to put the body back in balance.
When you look up naturotherapy, naturopathy comes up either in its place or as a close cousin. Naturotherapy diploma programs can be found abroad, but in the U.S. most certifications are geared for naturopathy.
Naturopathic doctors are closer in nature to general practitioner doctors. They will employ scientifically evidence-based natural approaches, such as certain herbal medicines and nutritional-based therapies. There is also a major focus on disease prevention. Naturopathic doctors are licensed with a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) from a four-year graduate program with a medical college.
But like naturotherapy, the primary goal of a naturopathic doctor is to assess underlying imbalances in the system, and work to balance out the system using natural means, rather than just treat the symptoms as traditional medicine sometimes might.
Alternative medicine in modern clinics
If enough patients are inquiring about natural health practices like naturotherapy, it might be worth a look to see if adding natural health to a practice would be worthwhile. Certain insurance companies are even covering natural health, depending on local laws and individual policies.
For instance, in Washington State, a law called “Every Category of Provider Law” requires insurance providers that operate out of the state to cover both alternative health providers and conventional doctors. It was introduced by former Attorney General in Washington Debra Senn, who was a supporter of natural medicine.
Naturopathic doctors in particular can be easier to find coverage for. If the doctor is licensed to practice medicine, insurance plans are more likely to cover them, even if they may be an out-of-network reimbursement. An insurance policy would have to go out of their way to exclude naturopathic physicians under the “definition of physician” section of a policy, which some may, so it’s important to check.
Post by: Physicians Group Management (Medical Billing Management) www.pgmbilling.com