Could health food insurance support preventative medicine and natural treatments?

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Doctors and healthcare providers are increasingly pursuing food-based interventions.

Health food insurance could one day be on its way to American plans. Just as health plans currently cover some prevention, prescriptions, procedures and doctor visits, they may one day cover certain foods.

The idea is that food-based interventions can effectively prevent or treat certain conditions.

The food-based intervention trend is rapidly expanding across the United States. In this way, doctors are recommending that patients prevent conditions by eating right. Similarly, some conditions can be treated more effectively when a patient follows a certain diet or eats specific foods. As a result, some health food insurance coverages may begin to make their way on the scene.

British Medical Journal editor, Richard Smith, once published a paper in the journal under the title “Let food by thy medicine…,” the famous Hippocrates quote. Within this British Medical Journal publication, Smith wrote “Although many patients are convinced of the importance of food in both causing and relieving their problems, many doctors’ knowledge of nutrition is rudimentary.” That was in 2004. Today, food-based preventative medicine has taken off.

Doctors and patients are using these methods and health food insurance coverage may be on its way.

This year, the federal government provided Medicare Advantage with the green light for plans that will widen the definition of the “health-related benefits” supplemental coverage for policyholders. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have indicated that they will consider giving their own go-ahead to health insurance plans providing supplemental benefits that “compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.”

Health food insurance - fruits and vegetablesThe breadth of the new “health-related benefits” is quite wide. Insurance companies are preparing their 2019 plans to work with the latest definitions. It is as yet unclear as to what forms – if any – of health food insurance coverage will be on their way. According to a Kaiser Health News report, insurance companies could start adding coverage to “air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy groceries, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals.” The goal is to use these efforts to reduce strain on the wider and more expensive health care system.

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