Acupuncture: In 2019 a covered benefit for some IBX plans

by Alice Dommert
May 5, 2019
Policy, Wholebeing

Hopeful for possibilities

I’m always the dreamer and hopeful for possibilities. So often we don’t think things will change, yet we know the only assurance is that things will. The media would like us to believe that things are only getting worse. This week I have a different story to tell.

As I was doing some research for our Beyond Being Happy program recently, I dug into this year’s recently published 2019 World Happiness Report. It did not make me happy. It seems that the U.S. was 14th in the ranking of over 150 countries just a few years ago and has now slipped to 19th.

The report notes that “the average life evaluation in the United States, as measured by the Cantril ladder, has declined during the past dozen years, from 7.2 in 2006 to 6.9 in 2018, despite ongoing U.S. economic growth.”

So why are we so unhappy?

The short answer, we are addicted. In a report with seven chapters, two chapters are dedicated to our struggles. The Sad State of Happiness in the United States and the Role of Digital Media explores how as we spend more time plugged in, we are getting less sleep and less happy. I am still trying to get my head around how we navigate this one. A conversation for another day and a chapter well worth the read.

The second chapter dedicated to Americas, Addiction and Unhappiness in America shines a light on the array of addictions we have including food, alcohol, drugs, shopping and workaholism to name a few. (Yes, there are more!) Within that chapter, there are statistics, data and theories as to the underlying reasons for so many addictions.

The one that we know a lot about is the opioid problem. Often it begins innocently with pain medication and then escalates into a serious addiction. We also know that addictions not only affect the person who has an addiction but the entire family system they are part of. Here’s where we are making progress.

In 2013 Prasada hosted an event at WHYY to show the film, Escape Fire. At that time, there was a concern with the organizations we were working with and across the country as to what to do about rising health care costs for individuals and organizations.

There had to be some yet to be realized solutions. Escape Fire was a spark of hope. In the film they told the story of the successful use of acupuncture within the military and how it was used for effective pain relief for injured soldiers and during their recovery treatments.

Acupuncture approved for coverage for pain relief with IBX

Last week, I learned that as of January 1, 2019, acupuncture is now a covered benefit for treating pain by Independence Blue Cross. The announcement from last October reads,

Effective January 1, 2019, Independence will offer an acupuncture benefit to all commercial members. To accommodate this benefit and better serve our members, we will be expanding our network to include acupuncture providers.

Benefit details
Acupuncture will be considered medically necessary under certain conditions, limited to:

  • Headache (migraine and tension)
  • Post-operative and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Nausea of pregnancy
  • Low back pain
  • Pain from osteoarthritis of the knee and hip
  • Chronic neck pain

I have benefitted from acupuncture for hip and arm pain and several other conditions and use as a preventative tool for overall health. I was willing to pay out-of-pocket for these services because of the effectiveness of the treatments. I consider this new benefit very positive progress and appreciate all the steps it took for Independence Blue Cross and others to make this possible. (Please note IBX has a vast array of plans so please check your own unique plan to see what is covered for you.)

While it may seem small, this kind of progress can grow to have a significant impact. I know there are other ways that acupuncture can support the overall wholebeing of the body and mind beyond pain. This is a fantastic start to bringing acupuncture into the accepted and valued tools for wholebeing.

I highly recommend exploring acupuncture to see if it might make a difference for you or someone in your family.

So how does Acupuncture work?

This is a fantastic video to understand the basics of acupuncture and yin yoga and how they work in similar ways.  I love Josh Summers because he is an acupuncturist and a yin yoga practitioner and instructor.  Here you can find more information about yin yoga.

Be well.

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

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