by Michael Dorausch, DC
I don't know anyone that likes paying insurance deductibles but this is the time of year that they roll back to zero. If you haven't made your insurance based visit to a health-care provider of this month, it's likely you'll be facing a new deductible, and it may be higher than it was in 2007.
Whether you're self-employed, working for a large corporation, or are part of a major union, it's likely your insurance is going to have some sort of health-care deductible expense due in 2008, and it's best to remember that before you make your next doctor's visit.
If you're self-employed and living in the US you may have big concerns about health insurance. It's not surprising to be nervous about unexpected health-care crises, such as a compound tibial fracture while snowboarding black diamond runs at your favorite ski resort. The day-to-day stuff like getting a cold or experiencing muscle soreness after training for a marathon doesn't seem to stress the self-employed as much.
For many of those working for themselves, PPO insurance deductibles typically run from $2000-$4000, and in often cases they are not met in a single calendar year. A typical example of someone who won't use insurance towards health care is a person that works for themselves and has a $2500 deductible. They may receive chiropractic care on a regular basis and perhaps a half-dozen acupuncture visits per year, and/or massage therapy visits per year.
Looking at the insurance policy for such an individual they may be "covered for chiropractic" but that coverage does not often kick in until after the deductible is met (in this case $2500). According to their policy insurance may only pay for 12 chiropractic visits (at $25-$35 reimbursement per visit). In scenarios like these, and oftentimes doesn't make sense to use health-care insurance for these types of services, and it's potentially far more affordable to pay them out of pocket.
Those working for large corporations (if they haven't chosen an HMO) will typically find themselves with deductibles of $100, $250, or $500, depending on the PPO plan they've chosen (or been provided). It's not uncommon to see an insurance plan that has chiropractic coverage for 30 visits with a $500 deductible (and usually a $15-$35 copayment). In these cases you may find yourself making two or three additional or increased payments in your first month of care, but that most individuals are just left with their assigned co-pay.
Those working for large unions, like the Motion Picture Industry, won't see any deductibles on their health-care plans (or those deductibles may be minimal - around $100). As far as I know the motion picture health and welfare fund offers some of the best wellness based health-care coverage in the film industry. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) offers coverage for chiropractic care but deductibles can be as high as $750 per calendar year. And that is after one has qualified to be able to use their benefits. The Writers Guild health-care plan often times provides excellent coverage for chiropractic care, with writers receding as many as 60 visits per year, with copayments that range around $20, and insurance deductibles that are typically less than $500.
So whether you're going to see your chiropractor, your dentist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, orthopedic surgeon, gynecologist, physical therapist, psychoanalyst, or other health-care provider, don't forget that it's January 2008 and those insurance deductibles are likely due.
If you're experiencing discomfort in the area of your wallet, I know plenty of great chiropractors that would be happy to help you thin it out, and get you on track for a healthy and productive year.