American Specialty Health (ASH), Boise, Idaho, a leader in complementary health care, is giving Idaho employers a new opportunity to provide their employees with insurance benefits for complementary and alternative health care. The coverage makes popular treatments such as chiropractic/manual manipulation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietetic counseling more accessible and affordable for employees.

Employers with 51 or more employees can purchase these benefits directly from American Specialty Health Insurance Company (ASH Insurance), a subsidiary of ASH, as a supplemental group benefit, similar to purchasing vision, dental, or behavioral health coverage.

Employers are increasingly eager to offer complementary health care coverage for a variety of reasons, according to George DeVries, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of ASH.

The challenge every employer is facing today is the ability to reduce health care costs, DeVries says. Complementary health coverage is not only less expensive than traditional coverage, but it can help reduce employee medical utilization and the overall cost of health care.

Today we are living in a consumer-driven world, says Douglas Metz, DC, chief health services officer for American Specialty Health. Consumers dont want one choice of health services any more than they want one choice in restaurants or one choice in movie theaters. Todays health care is about customization. While some people may prefer to take a prescription drug to feel better, others want a more natural approach, through acupuncture or chiropractic care or dietary changes. This demand for custom-tailored health care is driving the growth of complementary health services and the insurance programs that make these choices affordable.

Employees covered by ASH Insurance can access a statewide network of contracted acupuncturists, chiropractors, dietitians, massage therapists, medical doctors, and osteopathic physicians. Insureds who travel out of state also have access to a national provider network. The benefits are available for both in-state and out-of-state employees.

[SOURCE: PrimeZone Media Network, September 12, 2006]