DENVER (CBS4)- A bill being proposed at the state Capitol would make it easier for acupuncturists to get reimbursed by insurance companies. An outdated law in Colorado allows insurers to deny claims, even when acupuncture is covered by the policy.

“It may take for someone like me, months and months to get paid,” said licensed acupuncturist Debra Arko Novotny.

It’s not that insurance companies don’t cover acupuncture, many do. In Colorado, an antiquated law omits acupuncturists from a list of providers insurers refer to when deciding whether to reimburse.

Rep. Su Ryden believes a change is in order.

“This bill is about fixing technical issues we have in legislation, ” said Ryden, D-Aurora.

The proposal would bring the list of licenses providers in Colorado up to date. Acupuncturists are not on the list because they weren’t licensed at the time, which means they are less likely to be reimbursed than less-experienced providers.

What the bill won’t do is require an insurer to cover acupuncture.

The bill passed committee on a party-line vote with one Republican crossing over. The measure will be heard before the full house next week.

Comments (7)
  1. Aiping Wang says:

    In 2009, China International Sporting Goods Show, the “Li Ning” instead of “unix” officially became China’s national badminton team designated equipment suppliers.

  2. Acupuncture For Fertility says:

    I have tried acupuncture for fertility and it really helped. In fact my western medical doctor who treated us for infertility is the one who recommended it. We had tried medical infertility many times and it didn’t work. The acupuncture did.

    I guess I am with Debra Arko Novotny who spoke to the TV about acupuncture, I for one want my acupuncture done by an LAC or licensed acupuncturist.

  3. Denver Consumer says:

    Really informative piece. Thanks CBS 4.

  4. Carl Bartecchi, M.D. says:

    Why would an insurance company want to cover placebo therapies? It could only raise the cost of insurance premiums without providing any benefit for a real illness. Remember that acupuncture is alternative medicine, thus “unproven” medicine.

    1. Dan Poreda, L.Ac says:

      Carl, perhaps you haven’t reviewed the literature, but the WHO and NIH both conclude that acupuncture is proven through clinical trials to be effective for a number of conditions. Placebo does not cause measurable effects locally and systemically, which acupuncture does. to say it is ‘unproven’ or ‘placebo’ is ignorance at best.

      What raises insuance premiums is frivolous lawsuits and exorbitantly expensive medical procedures which are the result of lack of preventative care. which acupuncture is. If anything, acupuncture prevents people from degenerating to the point where more expensive medical procedures are necessary. this is partially why more insurance carriers are covering acupuncture, because statistically, keeping people healthier is cheaper.

      To say “alternative” is unproven is a very narrow statement. This is like saying Only one religion gets you into heaven. Does this mean that before the West developed the double-blind method, there was no real medicine in the world?

  5. Boulder Acupuncturist says:

    This would help both insurance companies and patients and give boulder acupuncturists a choice.

  6. Denver Acupuncture says:

    This simple change in the statue will help lower the costs of insurance and help patients be able to see their local license acupuncturist. Denver Acupuncturist Debra Arko Novotny testified Tuesday to help get this bill passed.

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