More and more people are turning to holistic health care options such as acupuncture treatments and massage as part of their regular health care routine, and a local insurer is now offering plans that cover these alternative medicines.
Priority Health began offering MyPriority Holistic at the end of 2015 to individual and small business health insurance purchasers. The plans were made available on and off the Health Insurance Marketplace, healthcare.gov, and they go into effect this month.
Priority Health said it is the first insurer in Michigan to offer a product for individuals covering non-traditional or alternative medicine and traditional coverage “all in one plan.”
“We realized there are a lot of people very interested in partnering traditional medicine with alternative medicine,” said Marti Lolli, senior director of product development and health care reform at Priority Health. “In fact, about 38 percent of adults are using some type of holistic medicine approach today.”
Lolli said the millennial generation is particularly interested in holistic health care, which she expects will lead to more demand for products covering alternative medicine treatments in the near future.
MyPriority Holistic offers acupuncture and medical massage coverage as well as an annual e-care visit, and an opportunity to earn money back for good health and fitness behaviors.
Lolli said individuals are eligible to receive up to 20 acupuncture and massage visits per year under the plan, which will require a co-pay.
The e-care visit, which is a virtual appointment, can be used for things like an ear infection or low acuity services, Lolli said.
“We know this population is also interested in convenience,” she explained.
She said the demographic likely to take advantage of MyPriority Holistic is relatively healthy, sometimes leaving them feeling as if they aren’t getting their money’s worth from their health care coverage.
“So under this product, they also get an opportunity to earn cash back for fitness and staying healthy,” Lolli said. “Use your FitBit, take a walk with your dog, go to the gym, and you can earn rewards.”
According to Priority Health, members can earn up to $120 annually in rewards as well as discounts at fitness facilities.
Priority Health is partnering with American Specialty Health Networks to offer MyPriority Holistic, which means individuals who purchase the plan need to select an approved provider from that network. Providers can be found on Priority Health’s website.
Lolli said since Priority Health began making MyPriority Holistic available, it’s seen more than 10 percent of new enrollees taking advantage of it, which she said amounts to hundreds of individuals.
“We think 15 to 20 percent of the market will be interested in this product, and that will grow over time,” she said.
“Holistic services are a key part of preventive care,” said Joan Budden, Priority Health’s president and CEO. “Prevention heads off bigger and often more costly medical issues later on. By providing these services to our members, we continue our commitment to innovative services to help them be their healthiest.”
Priority Health also introduced Spectrum Health Partners, another health insurance product available to Kent County residents.
“This product offers the best of both worlds: a great premium price point, which is about 15 to 20 percent lower than other products, and access to one of the top hospital systems in the country — Spectrum Health,” Lolli said.
The plan provides full access to the Spectrum Health network, including all affiliated hospitals, physicians and Orthopedic Associates of Michigan.
“Spectrum is high performing in regard to the fact that their clinical outcomes are superior to a lot of competing products in the market. Plus they are coordinated as a health care system so it allows for a more exceptional patient experience and lower cost,” Lolli said.
She said the product also makes seeing a specialist easier than competitors’ plans.
“As long as you stay within the Spectrum Health system or an ancillary provider or independent physician associated with Spectrum, you don’t need a referral to see a specialist,” she said.
Interest in high-performing network plans like Spectrum Health Partners is growing, according to Budden.
“High-performing network plans continue to grow in popularity because of the pricing relief they provide consumers,” she said.
According to Priority Health, in 2014, 52 of the 138 plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace were narrow network plans, and that number is expected to grow to more than 80 plans this year.
Lolli said when choosing a health plan, there are several factors to consider, including which doctors are included in the plan’s network and whether it is limited to one state or extends outside of Michigan.
Priority Health’s newly introduced plans for Kent County residents join previously offered plans MyPriority RxPlus and MyPriority HAS.