Many standard health plans today cover chiropractic care. During 2010, 44 states required individual and some group health insurance plans to cover services by chiropractors, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, which tracks state health insurance mandates. That's the same number of states that mandate coverage for services by psychologists and more than the number of states that mandate coverage for services by nurse midwives, physical therapists and osteopaths.
State mandates requiring plans to cover chiropractic care vary, depending on the legislation that created the requirements. Some states require health insurance plans to cover a certain number of chiropractic visits a year, and others require chiropractor visits to be covered in a way equivalent to visits to medical doctors, the council's "Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2010" report says.
Chiropractic health care questions
When comparing health plans and how they cover chiropractic visits, evaluate the following:
- Does the plan include a good selection of chiropractors in its network?
- How much will you pay out of pocket for chiropractic visits?
- How many visits and what type of chiropractic services will the plan cover each year?
Understand the difference between health insurance and discount health plans, some of which include chiropractic networks. For a monthly fee, a discount plan gives you a card good for a percentage discount off the cost of in-network services of chiropractors and other providers, such as dentists, physical therapists and optometrists.
This may sound appealing because the discount plans are a fraction of the cost of health insurance. But they are not a replacement for health insurance. Discount plans offer discounts for certain services and providers, but do not provide coverage for preventive care, hospitalization or basic medical services. Only health insurance can offer a safety net.
For more, see "The A to Z's of alternative medicine."