The rising costs of allopathic medical care have been much discussed in recent years. For that reason, the costs
of hospitalization, visiting a physician, and obtaining a prescription, are well known to many Americans, and will
not be described in detail here.
A subject that is crucial to any discussion of medical care in the United States, however, is the coverage of treatment by insurance agencies. As described by KCH Robert Polahar, Knox County is a fairly well-taken care of area in terms of insurance. Only 1-3% of Knox citizens are known to have no form of medical insurance. The rest receive at least partial coverage by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. This figure indicates that the people of Knox County should, theoretically, have good financial support for access to medical care.
The presence of insurance coverage, however, is not necessarily related to the utilization of medical services.
There are a number of reasons for this. The coverage held may be limited, and may not include treatment for a variety
of problems. There might be a deductible for the insurance, so that larger hospitalization fees would be covered,
but individual doctor's appointments would be put off to avoid costly office visit fees.
Economic motivations, therefore, might be significant when trying to explain the prevalence of holistic practices in Knox County. Practitioners interviewed generally charged rates from nothing to $50 a session. These fees were highly dependent of the ability of the client to pay them. As Enos Yoder, a reflexologist, said, "When others don't have any money, they'll be taken care of anyway." A patient in a physician's office who cannot afford to pay the bill may be hounded by credit agencies for years for those fees. Holistic practitioners are much more likely to write off any expense.
In Knox County, insurance generally does not cover alternative therapies. Massage therapy and crainosacral therapy are among the few exceptions to this rule. According to John Wells, a reflexologist, "In Ohio right now, there has been some talk about the coverage, but I don't really know of any companies right now that are covering. So it's generally it's that the person has to pay for that." This does not seem to be a deterrent for those who use holistic therapies. However, increased insurance coverage could lead to increased use.
There is a great different in cost for the time spent in a visit with an allopathic practitioner and that spent with a holistic practitioner. A patient may pay $90 to $100 for a 15 minute doctor's appointment, while holistic practitioners reported spending anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours in a session. In fact, holistic practitioners interviewed commonly reported spending more time if more time was required for no extra cost.
Holistic practitioners in this area seem to be in a variety of employment situations. Some hold a full-time job unrelated to health care, and practice their healing techniques outside of the workplace. For others, their holistic practice is their full-time occupation. The different types of situations may be responsible for the low cost of holistic care. However, it is likely that economics are not the only contributing factor to costs or prevalence.
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