Insurer’s need to make non pharmacological pain management cheaper for patients to stay drug free according to a new paper.

Insurer’s need to make non pharmacological pain management cheaper for patients to stay drug free according to a new paper.

The Opioid crisis did not happen by accident.  For years, insurance carriers have been raising the cost of accessing rehabilitative and chiropractic services for the consumer, while incentivizing the use of medications for pain.

Pain management is a priority in the medical world, yet, medicinal pain management is temporary, while rehabilitative and chiropractic care of the spine may not only be curative, but also improve the quality of our lives.   Pharmacological substances such as opioids can be addictive, and have costly side effects.   Functional medical care such as chiropractic care improves mobility, function, and can free people from pain, without the side effects of medications.

If insurance carriers want to reduce our dependence on drugs, and the cost of care, why have they made getting functional care so expensive compared to an addictive and potentially harmful pill? Is putting off helpful mechanical care a good idea when it eventually will lead to arthritis and damaged joints with the pain it causes later on?   Insurance carriers have the data to show that there is a better way forward, so why don’t they use it like Partnership Healthplan in California did when they realized that every place they were insuring people had developed an Opioid problem?

A recent paper asks this and questions the conventional wisdom of using medication, when better options that will improve health greatly exist.  Shouldn’t the opioid cost  $300 and the chiropractor or therapist have a $10 dollar copay if you want to change patient incentives?   Also, many surgeries and injuries requiring an expensive MRI may be avoided if this deterrent never existed.

It is time for this time honored philosophy of medication for pain to be questioned, since it has been driving healthcare costs higher long term. The current model in NJ as in the rest of the country needs to change, as smaller networks, tiered networks and other arrangements have reduced access, competition and quality while passing the rising costs on to us, the consumer.

Check out the article below

Posted By Sherry McAllister, DC, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, Monday, November 26, 2018

An unfortunate tendency of pain management is that patients seem to choose the least expensive, most readily available option, even if it is not the most effective or appropriate. Given this commonality, a new study and associated commentary published in JAMA Network Open present some troubling evidence concerning the U.S. pain and opioid epidemic.

The study, “Coverage of Nonpharmacologic Treatments for Low Back Pain Among U.S. Public and Private Insurers,” examines coverage policies across a nationally representative sample of commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans.

Lead author James Heyward, MPH, a research data analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, found a wide range of copayments for nonpharmacologic care for pain, such as chiropractic care and physical and occupational therapy. One commercial health plan, for example, required their members to pay a co-pay of as much as $60 per encounter for chiropractic care. Meanwhile, in the commentary, Christine M. Goertz, DC, Ph.D., and Steven Z. George, PT, Ph.D., cite research that shows health plans’ preferred generic opioid prescription costs members only $10 a month.

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