Last year, I wrote an article entitled Chiropractic Is Health Insurance that not only explored the benefits of chiropractic care, but also criticized the insurance companies’ approach to keeping you healthy. And although it’s been about a year since I wrote that, I still stand by my original post.
When you operate your own practice, you get unsolicited advice all the the time. For whatever reason, whether it’s friends, family, or complete strangers, they all feel compelled to throw you a life raft to escape the pressures of surviving your first year in business. Thanks everyone. Admittedly, the one piece of advise I heard the most was, “Well if you accepted insurance, maybe more people would come to you.” Perhaps, but I’m still not budging on that one because the reality is this: Even YOU don’t want to get involved in the insurance game.
Let me give you a quick example. When somebody asks if we accept their insurance, our response is always the same. We politely inform them that if you have chiropractic coverage, we will gladly provide them with the necessary documentation to get reimbursed if they’re willing to file themselves. Reasonable enough, right? It’s really quite simple to do and highly likely you will get a check in the mail…eventually. But you know what? 9 times out of 10 that person hesitates and/or cringes because deep inside, they secretly don’t want the potential hassle that comes from dealing with the insurance company. I feel the exact. same. way.
The Insurance Game
So if I haven’t convinced you enough that leaving your health in the hands of a big corporation is a bad idea, perhaps the words of Bill Esteb, a well-known chiropractic advocate will persuade you:
“It used to be, you’d visit a doctor, wave your insurance card, sign a few forms and the bill was pretty much taken care of. But times have changed. The coverage offered by traditional insurance is shrinking. HMOs and PPOs are raising premiums and reducing benefits. Even government-based programs are affected. Simply put, if you and I truly value our health, we can no longer rely on some third party to pick up the tab. We have to decide: How much do we value our health? How will we prioritize the expense of recovering our health with the other demands on our time and money? And, are we willing to pay some, or all, of what it will take to get well, and more importantly, to stay well?
Realize that what our culture calls health care is actually “sick” care, since it has little to do with advancing true health. It’s mostly about suppressing symptoms while ignoring the underlying cause. Now, if you have a policy it will probably help with at least some of the expense of your sick care. But few policies pay for things that help us keep our health. For example: Many policies will pay for expensive back surgeries, but won’t pay for a program of ongoing chiropractic care that costs less, and could actually help prevent back surgeries! And that’s just the start. Some policies will help you with your chiropractic care when you have an obvious ache or pain, but cut off benefits before muscles and ligaments supporting your spine can fully heal, predisposing you to a relapse.
Consider this. Many of us who value our health, drink bottled water. We believe it’s healthier for us. Is our bottled water covered by insurance? No. And, every day, I take vitamins and some other nutritional supplements. Millions of us do. We believe they help support our overall health and well-being. Now, do HMOs and insurance companies pay for vitamins? Not that I know of. It’s clear that insurance companies don’t “get” the value of vitamins, bottled water, exercise equipment, health club memberships, chiropractic care and countless other strategies that more and more of us use to enhance our health and vitality. Until they do, we have a decision to make: will we count on the limited vision and profit motives of an insurance carrier? Or, do we value our health and vitality enough to pay for the care that we need to recover and support our health?
Naturally, if you have a policy with chiropractic benefits, you’ll want to use it. This office will supply the documents you’ll need to get reimbursed. In fact, when you file the paperwork, you’re more likely to get all the benefits to which you’re entitled. Just realize your policy won’t pay for all the care you’re likely to need. And besides better coverage, you’ll probably receive better care, get faster results and get more attention. After all, you’ll be the boss, not some distant insurance company. And, human nature being what it is, by paying for your care, you’ll be seen as a more responsible, desirable practice member.
That’s why this office has chosen to no longer play the insurance “game.” Our so-called health care system is no longer about health. It’s big business, raking in record profits with bigger premiums, larger deductibles, higher co-pays and lower reimbursement. To avoid becoming a statistic, caught in the middle, you and I have to decide: what is our health worth?
When you think about it, our health is our most valuable possession: it affects everything we do and everyone we know. This is a deeply personal decision. Only I can make it for me, and you for you. It causes us to rethink how we spend our time and our money. It becomes a reflection of our self-esteem and shapes the kind of life we’ll have—even our future. Ultimately, it’s about how much we value our health.
Whatever your decision, please don’t shoot the messenger! This office will work with you to help you achieve your health goals—whether it’s temporary relief or lifetime wellness. Either way, congratulations and welcome!”