“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Probiotics and Insurance

Will insurance pay for my probiotic treatment?

It's not standard for insurance companies to pay for non-traditional (read: non-pharmaceutical, non-interventionist) treatments, so lots of folks don't try. The industry is changing however, complementary and non-traditional methods are beginning to become main stream. Preventative care is a good example of that. More and more plans are making allowances for preventative care. Mine even allows for massage, and acupuncture. Heck, in the future maybe they'll pay for part of my gym membership, or buy me some running shoes.

Seriously-- If you have Crohn's or Colitis, your doctor can prescribe probiotics as a proven treatment. VSL#3 has been proven in statistically significant, placebo-controlled, double blind studies to reduce inflammation in the large intestine. (I don't provide those links to promote VSL #3, but to demonstrate that by becoming an expert, and showing your Dr. the studies--you can gain a lot of treatment latitute and respect from your GI)

The elemental diet has been proven (also statistically significant) to induce remission at least as effectively as Prednisone (read: Steroids). So if Probiotic treatment is appropriate for you, then ask your Dr. to 'prescribe' it as an essential treatment. There will likely be a letter of medical necessity you will need, and you'll spend a lot of time on the phone, but...We'll let's put it this way: A therapeutic dose (10+ B CFU) of probiotics can cost almost $400/mo. Ouch!

My insurance would not cover probiotics per se, but my flexible spending account (tax-free set aside for medical expenses) covers them. All they needed was a letter of medical necessity from my Dr.

Wish they'd cover the cost increase in my grocery budget since I started the SCD.

Onward to Health.

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