In honor of early voting starting this week, I wanted to give you one more reason to step out to the polls.
Clause 2706 of the Affordable Care Act.
This small, almost unheard of clause is the tiniest most incremental step towards our health care system beginning to accept Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners as legitimate providers, by allowing consumers to file claims for coverage of their services.
According to studies over 1/3 of Americans use some form alternative medicine regularly. So, our established healthcare system beginning these small steps towards accepting this fact by compensating practitioners and consumers, seems like a good place to start.
Clause 2706 is called the “Medical Non-discrimination Clause” because it basically states that insurance companies may not discriminate against consumers based on what type of medicine they choose to consume, by denying coverage of a particular modality. You may not know this, but it has been in effect since 2014, and still hardly anyone has heard of it.
Why is Clause 2706 something to be kind of excited about?
The Affordable Care Act eliminated the fear and instability for citizen consumers around pre-existing conditions -allowing those with any previous health issue (most of us!) to be able to access insurance coverage without being discriminated against. For many it was a life saving step.
However, there are so many more issues to contend with now, unchecked rising premiums being the most glaring. Most working class families have huge premiums for basically inadequate coverage.
Amidst all this, Clause 2706 is like a glimmer of hope that our country may be moving towards a model of prevention and integrative care.
The clause states:
“A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law. This section shall not require that a group health plan or health insurance issuer contract with any health care provider willing to abide by the terms and conditions for participation established by the plan or issuer. Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or the Secretary from establishing varying reimbursement rates based on quality or performance measures.”
Granted, it is a tiny move, but a move nonetheless. Whether it takes hold and expands, and whether we move towards a more preventive model of healthcare (like most other countries of a similar economic profile to ours), one that includes integrative medicine…well, that will depend on several factors. One is, who wins our presidential election. The other is, the consumer. As with many issues in our society, this will be a consumer driven change.
Now is actually a very exciting time in healthcare. We are seeing an incredibly rapid growing desire for alternative forms of medicine. Homeopathic and herbal medicines are showing up in mainstream American pharmacies (like Walgreens!). Science is catching up with, and confirming the efficacy and benefits of many traditional forms of medicine, including ancient practices like meditation and Yoga.
Change has to start somewhere. So, spread the word about Clause 2706. If you're a practitioner, let your clients know about it. If you are a consumer, follow the links I've provided below to 'Cover my Care' to learn how you can file claims with your insurance company and ask for your favorite licensed CAM practitioners to be covered. And go vote!
More Information about Clause 2706:
Cover My Care Toolkit: A Guide for Patients