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Business Critical for Health Plans: Educating Consumers on Low Back Treatments

, July 25, 2013

Tabatha ErckChiropractic care is covered by most health plans in Minnesota, and study after study shows that chiropractic treatment for low back pain is one of the most effective and cost efficient approaches to restore mobility, reduce pain, and help people return to their normal activities. However, many patients are still unaware that chiropractic care is a covered benefit of their health insurance plan and that they don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.

After all of the information shared with health plan members, why is this still occurring?  We believe some of it is due to a lack of information available within their medical doctor’s office.   While it is changing, most medical clinics don’t have chiropractors on staff, and it is uncommon for doctors to refer patients for services outside of their clinic out of habit, protocol, or lack of a relationship with a chiropractor. Unless the patient has taken the initiative to research their options for treatment of their low back pain, the patient is frequently unaware that they could choose to receive chiropractic care. In addition, patients unfamiliar with chiropractic services are usually also unaware of the proven success of chiropractic services in treating low back pain.

Everyone suffers when patients don’t get the right care at the right time, and for the right value. Chronic and acute low back pain can be debilitating and cause additional suffering, including an inability to focus at work, difficulty with normal activities, or depression.  Patients having to seek multiple (and less effective) treatments for chronic low back pain is a huge expense, additional missed days at work, and a delay in care.

Patient education is critical to alleviate miscommunication about patient benefits and coverage. When patients are not getting the right treatment, at the right time, and for the right value, they face significant consequences, including handling unsuccessful acute and chronic pain treatments. So, what can you do for your employees and/or health plan members? Check out the section in the e-book titled Eight Ways to Improve Patient Education and Engagement.

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