ALTERNATIVE HEALTH: Many HMOs Now Offer Coverage
HMOs are beginning to offer their enrollees access to alternative health care services via discounts or additional benefit coverage through higher premiums. The move is "not necessarily because of a belief in the medical value of such therapies, but by marketing pressures," the Bergen Record reports. Managed care plans, often criticized for not paying for expensive and experimental treatments, are using this service to "attract customers and goodwill." Recent data show more than 40% of Americans use some form of alternative care, such as massage, acupuncture and herbal treatments, to complement their medical care. Robert Marino of Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey said, "Consumers and customers are demanding it. Our customers want options, they want to try a more holistic approach to their health care, or to combine traditional and holistic approaches" (Washburn, 2/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.