Why I Don’t Accept Most Insurance

by Dr. Kilcup | Jun 19, 2013 | Articles

insurance policyBelieve me when I say I wish I could take all insurance.  If you are reading this but haven’t called the office to see if your insurance has benefits for us, please call.  There are still insurance policies that we are happy to accept.  I know there are many people who would choose my care if I was on their insurance.  There was a time when we were able to accept the majority of our patients’ insurance and we were happy to do so.  In 2011, major medical insurance companies in Arizona changed their coverage for chiropractic care making drastic cuts to what they covered.  Up until then, they had covered about 80% of usual and customary charges, but now their coverage is significantly less.  There are differences between companies and plans, however a good example is BCBS of AZ.  Since 2011 they have paid only $4 per visit with a $40 co-pay.  In addition to the lower reimbursement, they require all kinds of paperwork from the doctor in order to get treatment approved.

When all this happened in 2011, I knew I had a choice to make.  I did the math and even if I had a 100% booked schedule, I couldn’t stay in business with the new reimbursement schedule from insurance.   My problem is that I spend too much time with my patients.  In order for me to remain on the plans that changed in 2011, I would have to compromise the quality of my care, so I could see more patients.  That was not an option for me.  I decided that I would rather go out of business providing the kind of care I would want if I were a patient, than compromise the quality of my care in order to pay the bills.

So if I don’t accept your insurance it’s because I can’t afford to spend the time and do the work I do for the amount of the reimbursement.  Why are there chiropractors that do accept most insurance you ask?  The only answer I can give is that they are able to increase their patient volume enough to make up for what they lost in reimbursement.

insurance policyI’ve decided that I’m not going to be the “Walmart” of chiropractic care.  I enjoy taking excellent care of my patients.  I want to take care of people who are here because they value quality healthcare.  Frankly, I just believe it’s wrong to not do a job the right way, especially if the job is caring for people.

If you’re looking for the cheapest care, I’m not your guy.  But neither am I the most expensive doctor in town, not by a long shot.  We do offer discounts and if you’re interested, please call and ask.  It would be fascinating to me to compare what the average patient spends per year for care at my office to the average patient of a “cheaper” high volume office.  I know that my patients need to see me much less often compared to most other chiropractors.  Because I take the time to do a thorough job, I do a lot more for my patients when I see them each visit.

Some people have had bad experiences with chiropractors.  Often the chiropractors that need to see a lot of patients in a day are going to rush things and mistakes are going to be made.  If that has been your experience or that of someone you know, remember that it is so often true in life that we get what we pay for.

There is another reason most insurances don’t cover services I provide.  My care is often considered “alternative”.  MEDICAL insurance companies are run by MEDICAL doctors.  From their perspective, if care is not what they have been trained to do, it is not worthy of coverage.  So, for example, if a child has chronic ear infections and I determine that the child needs his/her neck fixed instead of another round of antibiotics, my care will not be covered.  If a patient has high blood pressure and I want to do lab testing to determine the cause of the problem, it is not covered.  However they will be happy to cover blood pressure medication.  If a patient has acid reflux and I want to give them a digestive aid to fix the problem, they won’t cover it, but if a medical doctor prescribes a drug for the problem, the insurance company will cover it every time.

If you’re looking for the standard medical care, I’m probably not your guy.  I don’t prescribe drugs and I don’t do surgery.  I rarely need to refer patients out for either drugs or surgery.  My passion is to figure out what caused a problem and correct the problem.  Rarely is there a problem that cannot be cured or managed without drugs or surgery.  I believe that when drugs are taken it’s a choice between two bad things.  High blood pressure vs. the side effects of blood pressure medication– muscle pain and weakness, liver damage, digestive problems, diabetes, damaged mental health or a combination of those things.  I’d rather find the cause of the high blood pressure and fix it!  I have helped many patients with things like these.  However since it’s not medical care, medical insurance does not cover it.

If you’re reading this and agreeing with me, may I share with you what I think are two ways to get both major medical coverage and the non-medical care that you need?  Obviously what I am going to share has exceptions, but generally these are good solutions.

  1. Get the highest deductible medical insurance you can find.  Having insurance with a low deductible is really expensive.  If a person or family is in good health what you need is help when something really expensive happens.  The routine doctor visits are not going to put you in the poor house.  Use the savings on the high deductible insurance to pay for the care that you can’t afford now because the expensive insurance.
  2. insurance policyJoin a healthcare sharing group. This is what my family has done for the last 16 years or so and we have been very happy with it.  These groups are much cheaper to join than insurance companies.  I love the fact that my “premiums” are not going to pay for a luxury box for insurance company executives.  It’s just people helping people with their medical costs.  All the ones I know of are faith-based.  I’d be happy to provide more details if anyone is interested. Again, you can use the savings on monthly premiums to pay for things like quality chiropractic care.

If you have figured out other ways to cover your healthcare expenses, I’d love to hear them!  I enjoy hearing from you so please leave a comment!

Darrell Kilcup, DC, CFMP

Hi there! I’m Dr. Kilcup. You know that health problem you’ve been dealing with – the one that doctors can’t seem to solve, that’s stealing way too much of your time, energy and joy? I can help you get to the bottom that. I am passionate about using the best of science and nutrition to find and fix root causes of health issues. Start your journey towards healing and relief today.

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