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The health care industry has a variety of policies and standards regarding coverages for alternative medicine modalities From a sociological standpoint unconventional alternative or unorthodox therapies refer to medical practices that are not in conformity with the standards of the medical community The New England Journal of Medicine defines unconventional therapies as medical interventions not taught widely at US medical schools or generally available at US hospitals Examples include acupuncture chiropractic and massage therapy1993 Coverages vary widely among conventional carriers preferred providers as well as the omnipresent Health Maintenance Organizations HMO The primary emphasis and for that matter the only reason for the existence of insurance companies is a single word profit More specifically premiums less costs provide the all important profit margin the life blood of the insurance industry By not providing coverage for the billion dollar industry of alternative treatments insurance companies are keeping the cost of the premiums down but at the same time not allowing their customers to use complementary treatments such as chiropractic to prevent or cure illness The more rigid and restrictive the policy provisos the more assurance for the companies that they will maximize their bottom lines Therefore patients of alternative therapies as well as doctors must show that such unconventional treatment provides relief and prevention of illness The total projected out-of- pocket expenditure for unconventional therapy plus supplementssuch as diet pills and megavitaminswas 103 billion dollars in 1990 This is comparable to the out-of-pocket expenditure for all hospital care in the United States in 1990128 billion and it is nearly half the amount spent out of pocket for all physicians services in the United States235 billionnemj1991 From this one may infer that society has become fed up with inadequate results or side effects associated with
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