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Chiropractors benefit is back

Chiropractors and physical therapists would get a boost from a bill that cleared a House committee Thursday.

The bill would require health insurance companies covering some 2 million people in the state to offer a lower co-pay for chiropractors and physical and occupational therapists.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cullie Tarleton, started out as a do-over for a requirement that patients could see chiropractors and pay the same co-payment they are charged for seeing a family doctor.

That benefit was inserted into the budget by former House Speaker Jim Black four years ago. It helped land him in prison when three chiropractors admitted to giving him cash payments while pushing their legislative agenda. It was later rescinded.

Tarleton said the benefit was rescinded because of the circumstances surrounding it, not because it wasn't good policy.

"This is a really a patient's bill, plain and simple," said Tarleton, a Blowing Rock Democrat.

More after the jump.

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The bill was amended Thursday to include occupation and physical therapists, who compete economicly with chiropractors for some patients. And the bill was also amended to match the co-pay structure in the State Health Plan, which allowed a middle tier of co-pays for chiropractors and physical therapists.

In either form, the bill would increase insurance costs for businesses and the insured, said Rep. Hugh Holliman, a Lexington Democrat and the House majority leader.

"You're passing that cost along to everybody in the state," Holliman said.

The bill has two more committees to clear before the full House could consider it.


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Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

Hopefully the amendment will be changed back to the way it was before so this problem can be fixed.

Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

Then it should die.

Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

Unfortunately an amendment was added to this bill on Thursday that changed the limit of the co-pay to the same as the state health plan which was $55 and removed the language that would have allowed it to be the same as primary care physician (usually $25-30). The $55 chiropractic / physical therapist co-pay in the state plan was better than the original $70 proposed but still too high for most people to afford. We all realize the state plan still needs a massive overhaul so this may have not been a good template to work a bill amendment from.

So where it stands now with this amendment the chiropractic co-pay will remain high and individuals that elect to utilize this care will continue to pay for virtually 100% of their "health benefit".

The entire purpose of this bill was to set the co-pay to a reasonable amount that people can afford.

Many feel the high co-pay tactic is simply a way for insurers to discourage their insured from using a benefit. BCBS noted that it would cost them 20 million dollars. Even if that number was true we all know they have plenty of profit margin to pay for it.

If this bill passes as is, it is yet another win for insurers and loss for chiropractic and physical therapy patients.

Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

We need this benefit. This is about affordable health care. With the care of a chiropractor I am back on the job almost immediately -- without having to fill an expensive prescription -- whereas if I turn to more conventional medicine, I'm out for days and can accomplish nothing because of the painkillers.

Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

I for one am glad to see co-pays will be set to a reasonable fee for chiropractic care. What most don't realize is that co-pays have gone so high($50-$60) for chiro care that the amount is almost the same as the visit. That means that chiropractic patients are asked to pick up almost all of the cost of the visit and the insurer pays virtually nothing. We must keep in mind that chiropractic is a different type of specialty. Whereas a visit to a cardiology specialist may require one or two visits that may cost over thousands of dollars in testing a chiropractic patient may require five or six visits that cost fifty or sixty dollars a visit. In these poor economic times who should we be more concerned about, high profiting insurance companies or people that need health care to be affordable?

Re: Chiropractors benefit is back

terrible and in these poor economic times

bad timing vote NO

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