Massage Therapist? Understand the Affordable Health Care Act

If you’re a massage therapist, you’ll know that trying to get insurance companies to cover massage therapy sessions has been a big challenge to corporate wellness. However, your wellbeing can breathe a sigh of relief when certain aspects of the Affordable Health Care Act come into play in 2014, as this ongoing battle may be at least partially resolved – but how?

Traditionally, the easiest route in getting insurance companies to cover massage therapy has been to file through Workmen’s Compensation as well as certain disability programmes, or automobile accident claims. Some private companies offer coverage for massage therapy, but many want you to sign up for programmes that pay at a lower session rate as a perk for employees. So what’s changed?

Although it may mean more paperwork – especially for small businesses – the good news is that insurance coverage for massage therapy may soon be available nationwide. This may ultimately mean that more people will seek massage therapy as a complementary or alternative wellness therapy – and so the profession as a whole will grow. Massage therapists should be concerned about Section 2706 – Non-Discrimination in Health Care (of the ACA), which will be implemented in 2014.

In part, it states ‘(a) Providers – A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group of individual health care coverage shall not discriminate with regard to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that providers’ license or certification under applicable State law. This section shall not require that a group health plan or health insurer contract with any health care provider willing to abide by the terms and conditions for participation established by the plan or issuer. Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or the Secretary from establishing varying reimbursement rates based on quality or performance.’

This means that you will be covered by insurance as required by this act, but the insurance provider can determine the rate at which they pay. This means they may pay less than the going rate, which can vary greatly depending on the state in which you work, and never more than your usual fee even though you’ll have to put in a lot more paperwork and time. However, though it will take time, research and experience to work out all the kinks, the reform makes for some exciting possibilities in the long-term, such as more people seeking massage therapy as a way of maintaining wellness and, by extension, an increase in your income potential.

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