I injured my neck and have needed medical treatment for a decade.

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About 10 years ago I was in a car accident. It was minor enough, even though it did total my 1996 Saturn that I dearly loved.

Following the car accident, my neck bothered me and I saw a chiropractor for treatment. After months of treatment and physical therapy, an MRI and another doctor diagnosed me with 4 percent impairment, meaning that my body was no longer working at 100 percent, but only 96 percent of what it could be.

I laughed off the 4 percent. What’s 4 percent in the grand scheme of things? Well, 10 years in, I can tell you that measly 4 percent has come to wreak havoc on my life. As I’ve gotten older, the spot in which I had the original pain has worsened. I have to frequently get acupuncture, massage therapy and physical therapy in order to go about my daily life. Anything can aggravate it and if I don’t treat it, it leads to headaches, dizziness and pain down my back and into my arm.

So what does this have to do with money? Well, all those treatments unfortunately aren’t free. They cost money, and because many of them are specialty, they can cost even more than a traditional doctor. Thankfully many of these therapies are now recognized by insurance companies as being a useful alternative to medications. All it usually takes is a call to your insurance company to find out what is covered to see if you can take advantage of these treatments, whether you’ve been in a car accident like me, or if you slept funny and need to be able to turn your head again. Even if your insurance company doesn’t offer coverage, there are other ways you can seek out alternative medicine treatments for what ails you.

Tips to cost effective alternative medicine treatments

  • Call your insurance company. See if you are covered for what kind of treatment you are seeking, and if you have a deductible. Usually you have a certain number of treatments per year you are allowed after reaching your individual medical deductible.
  • Discount plans. Some workplace health plans offer discounts to specific alternative medicine practices. See if your employer participates or offers any such discounts.
  • Package purchases. If you can’t get a discount from your employer, see if the practice offers a discount if you buy multiple sessions in bulk. Often there will be options for a fifth session free or $20 off each session if you buy five. If you don’t see one offered, ask the practitioner.
  • Cash discount. Some practices offer a discount if you pay in cash. Ask in advance to see if there is a 5 percent discount if you don’t pay with a credit card.
  • Special Cases. Sometimes, if you are in need of treatment but can’t afford it, a practitioner will make an agreement with you. This often is when you have been referred by another long-time patient. If you can’t afford a session, ask if they would be willing to accept a lesser amount. They may say no, but it’s always worth an ask if you are seeking their treatment.
  • Group Sessions. Acupuncture is sometimes offered in an open, group setting so that individuals can receive treatments they want or need, in a more cost-effective way. If you don’t mind the openness, it could be worth looking in to.
  • Nearby Education Centers. Those seeking acupuncture or massage therapy may be able to locate a nearby college or natural center that teaches those practices, and be able to get reduced cost treatments there as the students learn.
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Meet the Author

Jessica Patel

Jessica Patel

Author

Jessica Patel is an award-winning editor and writer living in Los Angeles. She previously served as deputy editorial director of T Brand Studio at The New York Times and as Senior Editor and Analyst of Bankrate.com.

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Article last modified on June 13, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: How A Car Accident Has Cost Me Thousands - AMP.