Therapies covered by Medicare/HMO?


Question from EH: Are complementary medicine techniques covered under Medicare/HMO coverage? My mother-in-law just had a mastectomy and would be interested, but what is the cost? Can my wife and I defer the costs with our coverage plans?
Answers - Lorenzo Cohen Some complementary and integrative modalities are covered by different insurance plans and HMOs. The first thing, of course, is to check with the one you are covered by to see. In general, the majority of complementary medicine modalities are not covered yet by the major carriers in the US. However, there are many HMOs that have some of these services bundled as part of the package. For example, Kaiser on the west coast covers many of these modalities. At M.D. Anderson, our integrative medicine program offers all these services free of charge except for a nominal fee for acupuncture and massage.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. My belief in the importance of these complementary therapies was my reason for starting the Healing Consciousness Foundation, which provides funding for these services that are so essential to the healing process of women and men when facing the diagnosis of breast cancer. The therapies are so needed that at the time of the diagnosis of cancer, it is very difficult for patients who could even afford the therapies to go forward with them. Therefore, our facility providing these services allows them to understand the importance of learning to nurture themselves and to find a safe place where they can begin their healing process.

On Wednesday, March 21, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Complementary Medicine Techniques. Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about different types of complementary techniques and how they can help during and after breast cancer treatment.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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