Health Insurance Coverage Shall Not Discriminate
5/24/2013
Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, AANP State & Federal Affairs Chair
Friday, May 24, 2013
by: Lorilee Schoenbeck, ND, AANP State & Federal Affairs Chair

Section: State and Federal Advocacy




2013 is a critical year for naturopathic medicine. The Affordable Care Act has presented us with an unprecedented opportunity to propel naturopathic medicine forward—to grant access to naturopathic doctors to be covered under health insurance plans in all states in which we are licensed—but only if we are successful in educating state officials about how we fit in.

The AANP’s State Alliance invites you to join, and get involved in advocating for your state’s ability to access insurance for your doctors. Sign up for our June webinar by contacting Mike Jawer (at Mike.Jawer@naturopathic.org), and please come to the AANP Convention in Colorado in July, where we’ll have an in-person State Alliance meeting. You can also contact me, or Mike Jawer at AANP.

Our prevention, patient-centered orientation, and expertise in preventing and managing chronic conditions is exactly what the Affordable Care Act was intended to address

The non-discrimination clause in the Affordable Care Act, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2014, states:

“…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.”

Federal government is allowing each state to interpret how to implement this law. Depending on their understanding of what NDs do, NDs will either be in, or out, of health care reform. It is critically important that NDs in each of the licensed states become active in informing the officials in their state who are in charge of implementing the Affordable Care Act about the fact that NDs are physicians who provide many of the same primary care services (i.e. 99204, 99214 in “insurance-speak”) that MDs, NPs, DOs and PAs are currently covered for.

Naturopathic physicians can be one important answer to the shortage of primary care physicians. Our prevention, patient-centered orientation, and expertise in preventing and managing chronic conditions is exactly what the Affordable Care Act was intended to address. Patients need us, and the health care system needs us. With students now graduating $200K+ in debt—our profession also needs the choice for new and older graduates who want to take insurance to be able to. More access to naturopathic medicine, and more access to patients---it’s a win-win situation.

We have a few short months to either be heard, or lose this opportunity.  Let’s do this—together!
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