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Natural and Alternative Remedies: What’s Covered? #4

Diana Bui June 4th, 2012 0 comments

The field of medicine, once the arena for highly educated professionals with years of hands on experience and massive amounts of research, has become wide open in recent years, thanks to the internet. Information is readily available to anyone who is willing to find it, and we have broken through the elite bar separating the educated from the uneducated. With this change in how we care for our bodies has come a surging interest in natural and alternative remedies for medical and physical issues.

Image by Trang.Nguyen-Xu.

Image by Trang.Nguyen-Xu.

What are Natural and Alternative remedies?

Natural and alternative remedies are two different categories, although they may overlap. Natural remedies are those that are based in traditional sources and don’t require the use of a medical professional.

Alternative remedies are those that don’t fall within the scope of normative, modern medicine and can encompass the realm of natural medicines, as well as any treatments that are derived from traditional or cultural sources as opposed to medical research.

Some examples are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurvedic  Medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Naturotherapy
  • Osteopathy

These treatments often have deep roots in cultural and tribal origins and some have been used for centuries. Others are newly developed.

Why the Switch?

Some patients are dissatisfied with classic medical procedures. Some prefer a natural approach that lies better with their sense of spirituality and health. Others have used modern medicine without success. Still others may be dealing with a chronic or terminal illness for which there is no medical cure, or that medical remedies have not helped. They may turn to alternative or natural remedies to see if they may be more successful.

Do Private Health Funds Cover These Remedies?

As natural and alternative treatments become more popular, private health funds have begun to cover them in the policies they offer. Some funds will only cover service providers that are registered in the Alternative Therapists Registration Database, a professional organization that registers alternative practitioners. This marks their services as approved and verified as alternative medicine, as opposed to some hoax that a practitioner may develop in the hopes of marketing it as a natural remedy. Not all services are covered, and not all professional organizations are covered, but chances are that if you are seriously considering a natural or alternative solution, you will be able to find something suitable that is covered so that you will not have to pay out of pocket.

How to Know?

If you know that you require an alternative therapy or think you may want to consider one, you need to carefully compare private health funds to see what they cover. This is a new area, and since it is out of the realm of standard medical care, not all funds will cover what you may want. If you currently have private health insurance, a quick call can confirm if your fund covers your desired therapy. If not, you will have to determine if it is worthwhile to switch to another fund that does cover it. An online search can yield results, and a few phone calls to representatives can give the information you need to make an informed choice.

Disclaimer: The above information is correct and current at the time of publication.

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