I received a good comment on our Mama’s Chiropractic Facebook page yesterday.
So sad you don’t accept any insurance. I get it. It’s a business, but it sucks still.
This was in response to our Chiropractic for Babies video, and I wanted to share my response in a place where everyone can see it because the reasons why we do what we do at Mama’s to deliver affordable health care are as important as anything.
I wish insurance accepted us! There are chiropractors who contract with insurance providers to deliver chiropractic care. If you have great insurance, they may cover around 20 visits before you start paying out of pocket. That would get you either an adjustment about every two weeks or, if there’s an immediate issue, about 3 months of care figuring 2-3 visits a week for 4 weeks, then weekly for 8. Here’s the problem I run into with that model: When I worked in an insurance based practice it would break my heart knowing a child needed to be adjusted but the parents’ benefit had run out, so I wouldn’t see them until January. There was nothing I could do about it. Legally an office can offer around a 10% discount for paying cash at that point, so let’s say a baby is teething and we see her 5 times in November outside the insurance. That’s now $300 out of pocket. Then let’s say brother brings home a bacteria new to the family from day care, and baby gets congested. We see her daily for 4 days and 3 times the next week. That’s another $420 out the door before Christmas. When we added up what Blue Cross expects a family to pay out of pocket in deductibles & copays, then meshed it with how many visits the average patient receives in our office (which is way more than 20!) we found we actually save our patients money by staying out of those contracts.
Now we’re also aware that some people fall on hard times. Businesses close, seasonal work dries up. Last year after talking with people on this page we developed a temporary financial hardship agreement. We helped 10 families who would have otherwise required state assistance for chiropractic care until they could get back on their feet. We also started participating in the Patriot Project, which offers free chiropractic care to disabled veterans, families of active duty military personnel, and Gold Star families. Someone needed to help those expecting spouses and babies, so we stepped up. If we were contracted with an insurance provider to charge a certain amount for their patients and I shifted one of them to a program like this, I would go to jail. It happened to a friend of mine who gave free care to her local high school’s track team. Believe me, insurance companies get pain-based care, but most still classify what I talk about in this video as “experimental or investigational,” and a lot of docs have to fib in order to get a child’s adjustments covered. Ask your chiropractor about that if he or she bills insurance for your children, and thank them if they’re in this boat with an insurance company because they’re putting their license on the line for you.
In our office we believe chiropractic care for a family to help with your internal communication should cost less than what you pay for your external- cell phone bill, internet, cable or Direct TV, etc. We also believe in autonomy- the idea that a patient’s body should dictate the terms of care, not someone in a cubicle. That’s always been our goal, and I’ve worked with every parent who needed to find a way to get their baby adjusted to come up with a plan that was fair for everyone. In the last two years I’ve adjusted 213 babies under a year old. We find a way.