By Dana Ullman MPH
(Excepted from Consumer’s Guide to Homeopathy, Tarcher/Penguin)
Because the vast majority of professional homeopaths in the United States are licensed professionals such as medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and others, most insurance companies pay for their care. Consumers are encouraged to review their own insurance to determine the coverage of chiropractors, acupuncturists, and naturopaths, because many policies allow only a limited number of visits and some do not cover any visits at all. If your policy does not cover the care you want, rather than immediately switch insurance companies, contact the company or your insurance broker and inform them of your interests. Only when consumers make their desires heard will the insurance market change. It is also good to know that there are now some insurance companies that specialize in coverage of alternative health care. Look for their advertisements in health magazines or consult an insurance broker.
When a homeopath is not a licensed professional, it is unlikely that an insurance company will cover his or her care, except in instances when a medical doctor prescribes homeopathic care and the insurance company agrees to pay for specialty care when prescribed by a medical doctor.
As mentioned earlier, the first interview with a homeopath usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes, and therefore, homeopaths commonly charge more than the usual office visit fee for this lengthy interview. Some but not all insurance companies pay for these higher first visit fees. In such instances the patient may be required to pay a portion of the homeopath’s fee.
Insurance companies will not cover the small expenses of homeopathic medicines because they tend to pay for prescription drugs only, and homeopathic remedies are primarily over-the-counter drugs.