I don't know if this is true with other medical insurance providers globally, but I have found that Medibank Private in Australia reimburses members for certain 'alternative and natural therapies' (a huge list including myotherapy, remedial massage, reflexology, western herbalism, chinese herbalism, shiatsu, exercise physiology, Alexander technique, Bowen Therapy, aromatherapy, Kinesiology... ), in some cases more than you can get from real science based services. This has annoyed the [heck] out of me, and was wondering if this insanity was the case elsewhere and if so if perhaps some sort of campaign was in order? Just to get things moving, I'll post the message I sent to them about my coverage...
I'd just like to note my dismay at the fact my extras cover includes an allowance for Alternative and Natural Therapies - things like Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy..... most if not all having no scientific evidence that they provide anything more than what could be attributed to the placebo effect.
I have no problem with people choosing these sorts of services in a recreational manner, but my issue is with Medibank providing implicit approval of them.... basically implying that going to an Naturopath is as valid as going to a podiatrist or dietician. In fact I could claim up to $400 for seeing a Naturopath giving me pseudo scientific treatment, but can only claim $250 for the glasses I need to physically get around or $180 every three years for the nebulizer required to help my wife with asthma breathe.
The big issue is of course a person might be sick and decide to undergo alternative therapy rather than conventional (science based) medicine. Steve Jobs is a recent quite public example of a person who did this, and whose life was probably shortened due to his holding off from science based treatment.
I am concerned that Medibank providing coverage for these services means that these are being supported by Medibank as true alternatives to real medicine and therapies that have been proven to work
I am concerned that people may not get the treatment they really need, when they need it
I am concerned that Medibank is paying for people to be treated twice for the same ailment
I am concerned that people may go to a naturopath and rather than have a child immunised, have 'homeopathic immunisation' that puts both the child as well as other children in the community at risk of serious illness from hooping cough, chicken pox etc.
I am concerned that Medibank may get sued because of the above, and that our monthly rates will increase to cover legal costs
I am concerned that part of my monthly payments are going towards funding these so called therapies
I would suggest that including these services be *optional* rather than by default, with a big warning when people select it that states something along the lines that these are not based on science and that Medibank strongly recommends consulting a doctor rather than, or in conjunction with, these services.
I would then suggest either reducing the current rates OR increasing the levels of coverage for approved medical services (eg increasing optical, dental, etc)
I know that this may take time to do, but although I am happy with other aspects of the services my family and I have recieved from Medibank over the years, this does concern me enough to consider changing to a different health provider.