Lower Your Medical Bills by Seeking Alternative Treatment First

There’s no question that U.S. health care costs are out of control. Even for those with insurance, quality care is often a severe financial burden, and medical bills, sadly is the most common reason for personal bankruptcies. Many factors contribute to the insanely high cost of medical care, most of them out of your control. There are steps you can take to reduce your medical bills, even if you suffer from a chronic condition. One such step is to seek complementary or alternative treatment.

 Alternative treatment saves you money—and hospital stays

Multiple surveys show that users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) both save money and have better health outcomes. A 2007 study lasting a total of 7 years found that those who used CAM therapists who focused on non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical treatments had over 60% fewer hospital admissions than those using conventional doctors, 59% fewer hospital stays, 62% fewer outpatient surgeries, and 85% less in pharmaceutical costs. The study participants all belonged to the same HMO and had the same type of insurance. Other studies consistently find that CAM users spend less on healthcare than non-CAM users, and report better overall health.

“Alternative” is a matter of opinion

The phrase “alternative medicine” or “alternative healthcare” can be misleading. Many practitioners whose services we routinely use are still considered “alternative” by mainstream medicine. Chiropractic care, for example, though it has been practiced for over a hundred years and is covered by nearly all insurance, is still considered “alternative.” Nutritional intervention is considered “alternative.” And many therapies considered “alternative” here in the pharmaceutical-based U.S. are standard practice in other countries. Acupuncture, Ayurveda, and aromatherapy, to mention only a few, are “alternative medicine” here but a normal part of care in other parts of the world. Taking advantage of such integrative and holistic therapies can keep both your body and your wallet healthier.

If you think you’re having a heart attack, the ER is the place to be. And if you’ve broken your arm, you’ll probably want to visit an urgent care clinic. But for non-emergency issues, alternative care may be a less invasive, non-pharmaceutical option.