Have you always wanted to see a Naturopathic Doctor or a Homeopath but thought that the services they provided were costly and a bit beyond what you felt you could comfortably pay for ‘out of pocket’?
This is a common misconception that the general public has about Natural, Holistic, Complimentary or Alternative Health Care. This misconception has most likely arisen from the fact that ‘para-medical’ (alternative) health care is not covered by most provincial governments health plans. The only province that provides coverage for Naturopathic Medicine services is British Columbia. Way to go BC!
This fee-for-service is often what deters people away from seeking Naturopathic or other holistic health care services. However, many do not realize that they may actually have coverage for alternative health care services through extended health insurance plans from their employer.
More and more insurance companies are offering coverage for various ‘para-medical’ services which includes Naturopathic and Homeopathic medicine. While it is difficult to generalize the specific type of coverage that is offered by insurance companies, due to the variability between companies and the complexity of different plan packages, it is possible to educate yourself about health care options available to you. Listed below are questions that you can ask your insurance provider about your coverage for naturopathic, homeopathic or other paramedical health care services.
Do I have coverage for Naturopathic Medical services?
Naturopath, Homeopath, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist and Psychologist often fall under the category of paramedical services. Ask your insurance provider for a detailed list of which paramedical professionals and services are included.
How much coverage do I have?
Most insurance plans provide a certain amount of coverage to see a naturopathic and homeopathic doctor per year (e.g. $300-1000 per year).
What does my coverage include?
Most plans will only cover the visit fee and often do not cover any lab testing or supplements/products.
Is there a limit to the amount covered per visit?
Some plans do limit the amount of coverage per visit to see a naturopathic doctor or homeopathic doctor. It can be limited in different ways:
- Percentage of fee covered (e.g. 90% of visit is covered)
- Dollar amount per visit (e.g. $80)
Do I need a referral from my family doctor?
Naturopaths and Homeopaths are considered primary healthcare providers and generally do not require a referral. However, some insurance providers are now requiring medical notes to see different health care professionals (e.g. chiropractor, registered massage therapist, acupuncturist, etc), in order to be reimbursed for services.
What type of paper work do I need?
If your ND or Homeopath is not set up for direct billing then they will provide you with a receipt with their license number to submit for a claim. The majority of extended health care plans require that the claim forms and receipts be submitted by mail, while others require online submission. If your ND or Homeopath is set-up for direct billing all you have to do is provide them with your insurance card number and the rest will be taken care of.
On a special note, if your health insurance provider does not list Homeopaths amongst their list of paramedical service providers which they cover, then it may still be worthwhile to submit your invoice to your provider. Occasionally providers may neglect to add Homeopaths to their list of covered paramedial professionals, simply as an oversight. The Ontario Homeopathic Association or your Homeopath can provide you with a letter which you can include alongside your claim.
Wondering what your extended healthcare coverage includes? Check it out today. Many of us have extended health care benefits through work or a spouse or family member – sometimes more than we know about! It’s a great way to start working with an ND or Homeopath, especially if you have been wondering about their services and how they can help you on your journey to health and wellness.