ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: ‘HMO Dropout’ Starts Health Plan
In step with an insurance trend toward covering alternative therapies, Carol Rogers, "a 25-year veteran nurse and self-professed HMO dropout," announced this week she intends to build a "statewide provider network of alternative and complimentary practitioners." Headquartered in San Ramon, Bienestar-California will be modelled after and licensed by New York-based Bienestar Inc.,which offers members access to nontraditional healers, including massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, touch healers, biofeedback and guided imagery practitioners. Noting that California is a "mecca for alternative medicine, Rogers said, "We want our members to have a full spectrum of services from which to choose." She claims that 50 providers across the state have already joined the company, while another 50 have pledged to submit applications. Bienestar enrollees receive 20% discount on practitioners' normal fees and have access to health promotion programs, "discounted alternative health magazines, books, natural foods, vitamins, a 24-hour health advice line answered by registered nurses and free membership in the Omega Institute." Basic annual memberships cost $36, with premium prices tapping out at $99 per year for all benefits. Rogers hopes to market the health plan directly to individuals and businesses after the network is developed (Valcke, Contra Costa/Tri-Valley Business Times, 10/25).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.