A Guide to Holistic Health Care Costs
One of the first questions any person considering doing holistic health care wants to know is how much will this cost?
This is a difficult question to answer, but I will try my best to explain some general guidelines.
Information here is based on averages, and your costs may be different, either more or less than what I’m stating in this article.
What Are You Paying For?
Medical costs can be challenging to predict but can still be estimated within a range. This is because you are buying a specific service, such as surgery, diagnostic procedure, or examination/consultation. However, if you seek medical care for a chronic health problem, treatment will usually consist of managing symptoms with long-term pharmaceuticals.
At my clinic, you are paying for a corrective program to assist your body to become healthier and heal from your health problems. The program is entirely individualized and comprehensive. Most patients have twice-weekly visits for the first two months or more and are on active programs at my clinic for at least six months to a year. This program has the goals of restored health, stabilized health, and the ability of the patient to maintain their health from now on.
Your treatment program’s length and the intensity of treatment required to get results are affected by:
- Your age
- Your relative health
- The severity of your health problems
- How long you’ve had your health problems
- Your genetics
- Your environment (level of stress in your life)
- Your ability to eat a healthy diet
- Your ability to consistently do your program (come to visits, take supplements) and any limitations on your resources (time and finance) that would significantly limit your program.
Money and Health
Health is the most important thing you can have in your life because a lack of it can reduce your happiness and ability to help yourself and those you love. However, you still must make the correct financial decisions for your situation.
Improved health can often lead to improved finances. You can work more productively if you have good energy, good mental acuity and aren’t distracted by your body issues.
Using only insurable health care can cost more. Even with good insurance, years of copays and deductibles can amount to many times the total cost of a holistic program that could have addressed causes and ended your health problem.
It costs far less to end a health problem than to treat and manage it for the rest of your life.
Money doesn’t have to stop you from getting well.
I’ve worked with many patients whose health problems have them barely hanging on in many areas of their lives. These patients often have very limited finances. I know that they are easily overwhelmed until they are better and stable.
In cases like this, it is often best for the patient to pay each visit and keep their expenses within a comfortable range. I’ve helped thousands of patients get their health back even though they “couldn’t afford it.” I work with them to gradually improve their health at a speed they can afford.
If you feel that you might have a similar problem with finances, keep this in mind as you review the price ranges in this article. If you are determined to get well, we can usually work together and figure it out.
Alternative Health Atlanta Pricing Information
As explained, many factors affect the cost of a treatment program. My policy is that patients should always know “how much and how long” before starting any part of a treatment program with me.
At your initial visit, I gather enough information to estimate the finances for the first six weeks of your program. You will be fully informed of the expected finances as well as all aspects of your program before you start it.
After the first six weeks, you will have a reevaluation visit where we work out the best possible program for continuing your treatment, taking all factors into consideration.
After this, I reevaluate patients every three months. You will always know as much as possible regarding the future cost and time for your program.
Level I: Turnaround Level (First 5 to 7 Weeks)
This level begins with a patient’s initial visit. The goal of the Level is a patient whose health is turned around and improving; subjectively and objectively, there’s no doubt that this person has gone from getting worse to now getting better.
Turnaround Level usually takes about a month and one half. I treat the patient intensively during this time, as it’s much more challenging to turn a situation around 180° than to keep it going once it’s already improving.
NOTE: It’s surprising to many people that a patient whose health has been getting worse for decades can begin to improve their health in a matter of weeks. I’ve seen this occur thousands of times, to the point that I now expect it. This is a function of how the body is designed and its ability to heal, not any “miracle treatment” that I could do (sadly, I have no “miracle treatments”).
Another essential action I do during the Turnaround Level is to continue to gather information on the cause of my patient’s condition. I perform repeated, weekly testing and functional lab testing. By the end of this Level, I may have enough information to put together a strategic plan to get the patient through to the Wellness Level (where they can maintain their own health with little assistance from me).
Cost Breakdown for Turnaround Level (First 5 to 7 Weeks of a Program):
With intensive treatment, lab tests, and diet consulting, the first Level of a program is the most expensive per week. Once your body is improving, costs are far less and more flexible.
Keeping in mind the tremendous differences between patients, here are some ranges:
SERVICES: $1,100 to $1,800 Generally, I recommend acupressure treatments once or twice a week and doctor visits to re-test and consult once a week. There are also diet consultations and retesting for a Reevaluation Visit at the end of the Level.
LAB TESTING: $800 to $2000 These are functional labs that may test blood, urine, saliva, hair, and stool. At their initial visit, I test and determine the main areas of stress in a patient, so I can target these labs to only the areas I need more information about. This can reduce the lab expense compared to typical functional medicine practices by more than half. Children generally require much less lab testing.
SUPPLEMENTS: $400 to $800 I supply all supplements. The supplements I recommend are designed for use by health care professionals and are very different from the vitamins sold in health food stores. I can maintain strict control over what a patient is taking to prevent mistakes, counterfeits, and expired products often sold on the internet by supplying all supplements myself. I can know how well a patient complies with their supplement program to help as needed. I can fully warrant all my supplements if there is any defect or if a patient doesn’t tolerate a product well.
Level II: Healing Level (Six to Nine Months)
Once the Turnaround Level is complete, I should have a patient who has progressed from worsening to improving. A body that can improve is prepared to start healing. During the next level, I work to accomplish substantial healing. With many patients, Level II will stabilize their case to where I only need to continue them on monthly visits and supplementation.
Level II typically takes two cellular healing cycles (about six months). Severe cases can take longer.
Unlike the Turnaround Level, there are several successful approaches to Level II.
Once the patient is already improving, I can slow a program down or speed it up because the patient will continue to get better. Only the speed of recovery is affected. I can get the patient to a Wellness Program more quickly if time and resources are available or over a longer time if the patient needs to move more slowly.
There are limitations to program adjustments that vary by the patient’s condition.
LEVEL II: $400 to $1,500 per month. This includes all services and supplements. Follow-up labs are not in this estimate. The doctor will set a minimum program based on the patient’s condition. The patient can decide to do the minimum or more based on how rapidly they can move on their program without becoming stressed.
As a patient heals, follow-up labs objectively measure progress, changes, and causes for stress. Correct use of labs saves time and money by ensuring a patient is doing the most efficient treatment program and taking the most appropriate supplements. For example, when I get a follow-up lab back, I often can take a patient off one or more supplements, which could save them much more than the cost of the lab. Labs allow me to move a patient efficiently through to a Wellness program. The most significant financial advantage is that these labs shorten the length of a treatment program.
Without labs, I don’t have sufficient data and am “working blind.” There is no way to tell if correction of a health problem has occurred.
Follow-up labs average between $360 to $3,000 annually. Lab costs reduce as your body heals and improves.
Labs are needed at different times, which tends to spread them out. The labs can be purchased within a time frame (usually about a month), allowing the patient to work the cost into their finances. A typical lab costs between a low of $50 to a high of $500. Most are in the middle.
Once your health has improved and is stable, you are graduated to a Wellness Program to help you maintain your health.
My average patient spends between $35 to $100 per week on a Wellness program. Patients with severe cases with long histories tend to be at the upper end of this scale.
These prices include supplements and services. A Wellness program is a joint action between myself and my patients toward maintaining their health and preventing new health problems. It also allows me to detect issues that are just beginning to appear and “head them off” with less effort and expense. Finally, it puts me in a position to effectively be a backup to my patients’ health because living on Planet Earth means that pretty much anything can happen!
Insurance, Discount Programs, and Financing
None of my programs are eligible for health insurance. This is normal for holistic programs. A few states have insurance coverage for Naturopathic doctors (not Georgia!). Some insurance policies cover chiropractic adjustments. Otherwise, we’re all on our own in paying for holistic treatment.
Most of the labs we utilize are “functional labs,” which are not covered by insurance. We also use some standard blood labs, but your insurance cannot cover these unless ordered by your medical doctor. I can use blood labs done within the past three months, so if you have some recent labs, we may be able to use them. If you can arrange some of your blood labs from your doctor within the correct timeframe, we can use these as well.
Several discount programs are available to save between 10% to 15% off supplements and services.
For over 20 years, I’ve made cooperative discount programs available to my patients. About 70% of patients use these programs to reduce the cost of their programs. If you help me reduce my expenses, I will give you a discount on your program.
This works by prepaying funds onto an account used to pay your bill each visit automatically. This way, I avoid hundreds of financial transactions (credit cards, checks) each week and save on expenses.
In Georgia, prepay health care is refundable by law. So, any funds you have on account that have not been invoiced are fully refundable to you for any reason.
You can use CareCredit to finance one of the discount programs. This will allow you to get the total program discount and take six months to pay it off. With CareCredit, if you pay off the entire amount within six months, no interest or fees are charged.* (Go to CareCredit.com and tap “Apply”).
We also take all major credit cards so you can self-finance your program.
Costs of Other Holistic Health Care Practices
Chiropractic & Acupuncture
Some types of holistic treatment rely primarily on a specific treatment technique and may or may not add in supplements.
Examples would be chiropractic and acupuncture. These practices are very different from mine and charge fees mainly for their services.
Chiropractic care averages $50 to $75 for an adjustment. The number of adjustments recommended varies considerably, although a package of 60 – 75 or more adjustments in a year would be common for a patient with significant health problems.
Acupuncture sessions average $50 to $90 each. Acupuncture programs vary a lot, but it’s not uncommon for the number of recommended treatments to be similar to a chiropractic program.
My practice is technically a “functional medicine” type of practice. This means that my primary treatment techniques include supplementation guided by functional lab testing.
Functional medicine is practiced by many different practitioners: medical doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc. Functional medicine is involved and complex, and training takes years.
If an MD practices functional medicine, there may be limited insurance coverage for parts of the treatment. Supplements and functional labs usually can’t be covered, but doctor visits may be.
Many functional medicine practices don’t want to keep a large inventory of supplements, so they have the patient buy supplements from special websites. This is important because supplements won’t be included when looking at prices from these practices. Often supplements are half the cost of a program, so keep this in mind when looking at pricing information from these practices.
A la carte pricing: Some clinics charge by the service. For example, an initial visit is $650; follow-up visits are $360. Labs, supplements, and other services are added to the bill on a per-visit basis. This approach effectively masks the total costs of a program.
Concierge clinics: The patient pays an annual membership to belong in some functional medicine clinics. In exchange, the clinic offers exceptional doctor access, and many services are included in the membership. Memberships range from $1,200 to $10,000 per year. This model can be well suited to those who need conventional medical services and want to avoid the frustration of HMO-type impersonal care. However, this type of practice rarely offers corrective care for chronic health conditions.
Get well quick, easy, and inexpensively clinics: These clinics offer a couple of injections or patches, a scan with a “miracle” device and / or whatever your insurance will cover. When you look at the facts of what it takes to handle a chronic health condition in time, finance, and effort, it’s easy to see the attraction of this approach. If you’ve got a significant health problem and the proposed solution doesn’t make your finances creak, and your eyes open a bit with what is proposed, it’s (sadly) too good to be true.
There are many options to look at if you need health care.
My advice is always to use non-invasive, natural techniques FIRST. You can’t undo a surgery or un-take a pharmaceutical.
If you can get well without drugs and surgeries, it’s safer, healthier, and usually less stressful.
You can always get medical care if you decide natural approaches aren’t cutting it.
Chronic Health Conditions
If you have one or several chronic problems impacting your life, you’ve probably already figured out that your health care options aren’t so simple.
I believe that your best approach, the way you can get back your life, is to look for corrective care. You need help to get your body back to healing, so it can recover your health and prevent future problems.
This is not fast. It’s not easy. It’s not inexpensive.
BUT: It’s infinitely faster, easier, and cheaper than spending the rest of your life with worsening chronic health conditions.
My goal for you is to do what you want to do as long as you want to do it with the quality of life you want. I have many patients in their 70s who take no drugs, have an active lifestyle, and are not deteriorating. They got their life back.
Get in touch with my clinic and talk to me. Right now, today, could be the start of a very different and very improved rest of your life.
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Do You Have a Stubborn Health Problem?
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Would you please take five minutes to fill out a health assessment survey and send it to me? I’ll review your information, then have my assistant call you for any additional information. Then, I’ll let you know if your case might be a good fit for my clinic. This assessment is complimentary, with no strings attached. Either I can help you–or point you in the right direction to get help.
Don’t give up! You can recover your health if you persist.
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