Take a close look at what your health insurance covers and you’re likely to notice few of what some may call alternative therapies are listed. Most plans have zero or very limited coverage for treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, nutritional counseling, or other therapies that may benefit your health. That means you need a way to cover the cost of services your insurance doesn’t pay for, and health savings accounts are a great way to do it.
New Research Tracks Alternative Therapy for Chronic Disease
Because people with multiple sclerosis (MS) often use acupuncture, dietary supplements and herbal medicine, researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied how they were using alternative treatments. Researchers from five Nordic countries were involved and their findings have been published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, and Autoimmune Diseases.
Worldwide, Denmark has one of the highest incidences of MS with about 12,500 such patients. The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society conducted a questionnaire-based study involving 3,800 people with MS in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. They found growing use of alternative medicine among MS patients. In fact, more than half of the study participants either combined alternative medicine with conventional medicine or used alternative medicine alone.
The 2010 Health and Sickness Study revealed that one in four Danes have tried at least one form of alternative treatment during the past year. And, it seems that it’s mainly the well-educated that use alternative treatments. Among MS patients using alternative treatments, a significantly greater proportion had a high level of education than those who didn’t use alternative treatments.
New research also shows children who have chronic medical conditions are using alternative therapies. Researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of Ottawa find these children are using complementary medicine at a high rate. A study published in the journal Pediatrics reports around 71 percent of pediatric patients using specialty clinics at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton have used some form of alternative medicine.
Health Savings Accounts Offer Best Way to Finance Many Alternative Treatments
Only health insurance policies that allow to you open a health savings account give you tax deductions to offset the cost of therapies not covered by traditional health insurance. You can use HSA funds for acupuncture, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, homeopathy, nutritional consulting, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), among other therapies. It is good to be in control of your own healthcare, as much as possible. Having money in an HSA provides some of this healthcare freedom.
For a basic list of the types of health care that can be covered through an HSA, visit www.HSAforAmerica.com/qualified-expenses.htm.
Amanda Grace is a contributing author to HSA for America and an expert on Health Savings Accounts.