Massage therapists and other practitioners of complementary health care have long stated their frustration at being excluded from reimbursement by most health insurance companies.
That may change with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
A national organization has launched a strategic campaign to ensure practitioners of complementary health care are included in health insurance coverage as mandated by law.
Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against health care providers—including those licensed as complementary health care providers—relative to their coverage and participation in health plans,
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium‘s (IHPC) Partners for Health team is involved, with the leadership of former Washington State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn, J.D., in a state-by-state campaign “to support the correct implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act in 2013,” according to an IHPC press release.
The American Massage Therapy Association is one of the IHPC’s Partners for Health member organizations.
State-level actions will include networking and communication with state associations, state insurance commissioners and directors of exchanges “with proposals, white papers and an informational kit,” the press release noted. “This will include lessons learned seminars and sharing of best practices of disciplines and organizations in working in their states.”
Because of Section 2706 of the ACA, “over the next 12 months, we have an unparalleled opportunity to incorporate integrative health care practitioners into the payor system and make patient access to those practitioners across the country a happy reality,” said Senn.
Funding for the launch of the campaign and Senn’s involvement has come from the chiropractic community, with additional funding expected soon from the other licensed disciplines and integrative health care supporters and stakeholders. As of press time, the AMTA had not responded to a request for information regarding its level of involvement in, or funding of, the campaign. (UPDATE: The AMTA provided this statement to MASSAGE Magazine: “AMTA has a representative on the IHPC, and we always look for ways in which our activities can align. We are currently working on an approach to the Affordable Health Care Act that will engage our chapters and members, as well as contacts we have in Washington D.C.”)
IHPC will be a national clearinghouse and information channel for its membership base and integrative health care community nationally.
Members in IHPC’s Partners for Health include the American Medical Student Association, the American Academy of Pain Management, the American Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, the International Chiropractors Association, the American Institute of Homeopathy, the National Center for Homeopathy, the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, the American Massage Therapy Association, the Naturopathic Medical Student Association; and Life University, Bastyr University and Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research.