Wishing my health insurance covered the other things that help the pain

What my doctors say will help me (and I agree): massage, acupuncture, medical marijuana, physical therapy.

What my health insurance covers: opioids and other painkillers, physical therapy.

Does anyone else see a problem here?

I was thinking about this today during my massage. Technically, I can’t really afford it, but I’ve been trying to get at least two a year, using birthday and Chanukah money from my parents. I should put that money towards other things, like rent, but it just helps the pain so much!

My doctor wants me to get a massage at least once a month. My physical therapist wants me to get massages even more often than that. They each brought up the subject, not me. I never suggested it. But my insurance doesn’t cover it. So I pay $70 for an hour-long therapeutic massage, and I feel grateful that I can get that “cheap” rate. The massage therapist comes to my physical therapist’s office a few times a week and books up far in advance. She actually just added more hours to accommodate the growing demand. Yes, she plays the soft music and dims the lights. But she also keeps a detailed chart, applies the hard pressure I like, and manages to work out some of my always-present knots. She’s wonderful.

During today’s massage I thought about how frustrating it is that my insurance doesn’t pay for something that helps my pain so much. And then I dreamed about winning the lottery and hiring this woman to come to my home to give me a massage every week – oh, what heaven that would be! But back in the real world it just doesn’t work that way. And I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to get any massages at all. So many people can’t.

Still, how nice would it be if my so-called “health insurance” covered things that actually improved my health and my quality of life?!

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4 Responses to Wishing my health insurance covered the other things that help the pain

  1. Julie Ryan says:

    I keep hearing that some insurances will cover massage IF a doctor writes a prescription for it. Of course, then it may still depend on the therapist and how / if they will file the claim. I know the latter is an issue for me because my insurance will not allow me to file for reimbursement, and it’s only covered if the provider files it. When I’m in PT I can get massage as part of that (and it’s covered), however when I’m not in PT, no dice. That said, my current insurance doesn’t put a limit on my PT so long as I’m seeing improvement from it (not using it as maintainance), so perhaps it’s something to dig into further. It’s as though all the stars much align just perfectly to get some of these things covered. My chiropractor does acupuncture, so that is covered as a modality when I go there.

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