Alt med activists want insurance to pay for acupuncture in Maryland

Acupuncture activists want insurance coverage – WTOP.

Lobbyists for alternative medicine are pushing Maryland legislators to force insurance companies to expand coverage of treatments like acupuncture.

Under Maryland law, insurance companies aren’t required to cover treatments like acupuncture, herbal remedies and traditional Chinese massage.

As Maryland lawmakers work this year to overhaul regulation of health insurance coverage, lobbyists for the Maryland Acupuncture Society are working to make sure they cover alternative treatments.

“Legislation is supposed to address the needs of people and their wants,” said Belynda White, the Maryland Acupuncture Society’s vice president of public affairs. “Without having laws that make this openly available to them, people are going to start requesting more access.”

But many insurance companies are hesitant to cover alternative treatments like acupuncture because they say more research is needed to prove the benefits.

“Because acupuncture is considered experimental, investigational or unproven, insurance companies don’t want to cover it,” said Mark Slitt, a spokesperson for Cigna.

Alternative medicine advocates disagree that techniques like acupuncture are unproven.

Tip: @Blue_wode on Twitter

Yay for insurance companies for not agreeing to pay for treatments shows to be no better than placebos. However, I wouldn’t call acupuncture “experimental” or “investigational”. Such treatments have long been shown to be a powerful placebo.

I also STRONGLY disagree with the MD Acupuncture person saying “Legislation is supposed to address the needs of people and their wants”… Health care is fine. But “wants” opens up a very slippery slope. If people want a witch doctor or spa treatments to alleviate their issues, should insurance pay for that too? Insurance should cover treatments that are effective in the long term, not feel good measures that are trendy.

If you live in Maryland, keep an eye out for such legislation or speak to your congressperson, send them literature or links to remind them, acupuncture and similar sham treatments are not justified by science.