8 Secret Healthcare Benefits You're Not Taking Advantage Of (but Should Be)
We normally think of health insurance benefits as the necessities—routine checkups, prescriptions, and visits to the hospital. What most people don’t realize, though, is that their coverage might extend even further, offering discounts or even complete reimbursement for alternative treatments or preventative services.
All healthcare plans are required to cover the 10 “essential” health benefits, like your typical doctor’s appointment. But most plans also offer coverage for non-essential services that fall under alternative therapy or wellness services. The specifics of which services are included and to what extent they’re covered varies by plan and by state, so be sure to check with your provider for more information. In many cases, insurers agree that a good argument and a prescription will send you on your way to savings. Read on for some of the little-known health perks you might qualify for!
1. Weight-Loss Programs
Anyone who made a New Year’s resolution to get back in shape after the holidays will be ecstatic to know that their efforts might be covered by their insurance. One of the essential health benefits supplemented by insurance plans is preventative care, so if you’re concerned about your weight leading to other health concerns, chances are you’re covered. Most plans will take care of the cost of nutritional counseling or a weight-loss program to prevent later complications.
As many know, one of the primary side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. No one should ever feel less than beautiful, and many women feel a sense of loss and discomfort when they lose their hair. Most insurance companies will foot the bill of a wig with a doctor’s prescription—just ask for an “extra-cranial prothesis” (which is just a fancy name for a wig).
3. Gym Memberships
Belonging to a gym is expensive, which is why most of us haven’t joined. But what if your plan covered the cost? A healthy and active lifestyle is considered key to preventing major health concerns later on, so a lot of insurance companies will reward concern for your well-being. Ask your provider if you might be able to get a discounted or even free membership.
Not only is acupuncture great for getting beautiful, glowing skin, but it can also help with a lot of chronic conditions. Many devout acupuncture patients praise its efficacy in relieving stress, regulating digestion, and promoting better sleep. In fact, the practice has been so successful that California mandated insurance companies to cover it as of 2014. If your doctor recommends trying acupuncture as a potential form of relief for your health condition, you may be the next convert to this ancient Chinese practice.
5. Mental Health Services
Concerns over coverage should not contribute to your mental wellness. If you’re battling depression or are in need of counseling, your insurance plan should cover the cost of your treatment. Meet with a professional for screening and to find out what options might be best for you. In some cases, your symptoms might be indicative of other internal concerns like thyroid disease and can be helped with therapy or medication.
Reiki is a Japanese technique used to promote relaxation, relieve stress, and restore both physical and mental well-being. Centered around the belief that a specially trained therapist can help center a patient’s energy through the power of touch, reiki is touted as a powerful method of balancing the body. The practice is becoming well regarded as an effective means of treatment for fibromyalgia, depression, and pain relief. If it’s incorporated into a treatment plan by your physician, some insurance providers will help cover the cost of the sessions.
If you suffer from a foot condition like plantar fasciitis or fallen arches and need custom-fit orthotics, your insurance might cover the cost. However, you’ll need to meet with your podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon for a diagnosis as most plans will only cover the costs if you haven’t responded to other recommended treatments.
8. Yoga Classes
Looking for an excuse to buy those new yoga pants you’ve been wanting? Consider it done. Many providers are recognizing the benefits of yoga and will help cover the cost for your class. With the promise of eased tension, increased heart health, and better circulation, being a yogi has its perks, and you might be able to participate for free.
Up next, check out what experts say will be the biggest health trends of 2017.