By Dana Ullman MPH
(Excepted from Consumer’s Guide to Homeopathy, Tarcher/Putnam)
The cost of homeopathic care varies considerably from one homeopath to another. Generally, medical doctors who practice homeopathy charge more than non-M.D.s, and the longer the practitioner has been practicing, the higher the fees tend to be.
The first visit to a homeopath usually lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. When seeking the care of an M.D. homeopath, you will find the fees for this visit comparable with other physician specialists, ranging from $100.00 to $300.00. Other homeopaths charge from $50.00 to $250.00. Follow-up visits last between 15 and 45 minutes. M.D.s charge from $50.00 to $100.00, while nonM.D.s charge from $30.00 to $80.00.
While fees for homeopathic care by homeopathic M.D.s tend to be similar to conventional physicians’, the amount of time that homeopaths spend with their patients tends to be significantly longer. Homeopathic physicians earn good incomes, though generally not as high as the average medical doctor.
The actual cost of the medicine itself is negligible. If only one medicine is prescribed (as is most common), it costs between $4.00 and $10.00. Some homeopaths provide whatever they prescribe without charge.
The costs of homeopathic care, like the costs of all medical care, are high, but the costs of illness, especially chronic illness, are even higher. Some people may be tempted to treat themselves and avoid professional homeopaths, but such decisions can be more costly in the longrun because it is highly unlikely that this care will be effective.
When one considers that homeopaths typically discourage frequent visits unless they are medically necessary, and that the time between visits ranges from one to six months, the yearly cost of homeopathic care is considerably less than conventional medical care as well as most types of alternative medicine. This does not even take into account the further cost savings that accrue from the ability of homeopathic medicines to strengthen one’s immune system and prevent future costly diseases.
While medically trained homeopaths will recommend laboratory analysis when indicated, they rarely need to run such tests to determine the appropriate homeopathic medicine. Because of this, they tend to perform laboratory tests significantly less frequently than do conventional physicians,1 further reducing costs. The absence of side effects from homeopathic medicines also reduce the cost of care, since side effects usually lead to the need for more medical treatment.
The French government compared all the costs associated with treatment from a homeopathic physician with that of a conventional physician and discovered that homeopathic care costs one half as much.2 Considering the growing concern about the cost of health care, let alone the concerns about the efficacy of therapies, homeopathic medicine again seems to provide significant advantages.
1Jennifer Jacobs, Presentation at Annual Conference of the National Center for Homeopathy, 1993, Alexandria, VA. (paper updated and recently submitted to a professional public health journal).
2Statistical Studies, CNAM (France’s Health Care Insurance Agency), January 1991.