HMOs moving toward more alternative care coverage

Chiropractors and acupuncturists may soon join the list of preferred providers for health maintenance organizations nationwide, according to a recently released study underwritten by Landmark Healthcare, a managed care company in Sacramento, CA.

The study, "Health maintenance organizations and alternative medicine: A closer look," surveyed marketing and medical directors at HMOs in 13 states with maturing managed care markets, including California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts. Eighty marketing and medical directors responded to the survey. The study findings include:

• 70% of responding HMOs reported an increase in requests for alternative care therapies from their members.

• 58% of HMOs responding indicated that they plan to offer alternative care therapies to their members in the next one to two years.

• 38% of HMOs responding reported that they believe offering coverage for alternative therapies would increase their enrollment.

• 39% of HMOs responding said they plan to offer coverage for chiropractic and acupuncture within the next two years.

• 20% of HMOs responding reported they plan to offer coverage for massage therapy and acupressure within the next two years.

In this issue of Case Management Advisor, case managers explain how alternative providers often help patients achieve successful outcomes when traditional modalities fail. We’ll also give you some practical advice on finding and evaluating alternative providers. For a free brochure detailing the Landmark Healthcare survey results, contact: Sheri Chow, Landmark Healthcare, 1750 Howe Ave, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95825. Telephone: (916) 569-3326. E-mail: