Coming down to the end of my Certificate Program at ACHS, I have started including invoices with the therapeutic blends that I make for people.  I do not expect payment at this time, as I am still a student, but I’m trying to get into the habit so that when I do this for realz, I’ll already be used to calculating the cost of a blend.  Every blend is as individual as the person for whom it is made.  Therefore, every blend has a different cost;  it depends on the essential oils that are used and the method of administration.

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of affordability, I wanted to take a minute to let you know that I am not advocating cancelling your medical insurance policy.  I am not advocating ignoring the advice of your medical doctor.  What I am doing is trying to help people understand the cost of caring (or not caring) for their health.  I believe each of us should have the freedom to choose how we take care of ourselves and we have the choice to follow the recommendations of our doctors, coaches, aromatherapists, physical therapists, etc.

Medical Insurance Costs

So, in addition to being a part-time student, I work for a chiropractor in the Records/Billing/Insurance department.  I deal with insurance companies and attorneys every day.  I have, unfortunately or fortunately (depending how you view it), a better understanding than most of how medical insurance works.  With that in mind…

According to ZaneBenefits.com,

  • the average individual monthly premium (the amount of money you pay for the privilege of having insurance) for a non-government-subsidized policy is $393 or $4716/year 
  • the average individual deductible (the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket for medical care before your insurance will consider paying even a penny for anything) is $4328/year (Pennza, 2017)
  • According to HealthCare.gov, the average Out-of-pocket maximum (The amount of money you pay for co-pays/co-insurance per year before you’re covered at 100%), for a government-subsidized plan is $7150/individual and $14,300/family (Out-of-Pocket Maximum)

That means that you have to pay out of your own pocket an average of $9044/year
before your insurance will begin paying for any of your medical costs and
$11,866/year
before you are covered at 100% by your insurance company

Think about that for a minute.  That’s a lot of money.

Also, sometimes not everything you pay your doctor will apply to your deductible.  There are many times that I have to explain to patients that yes, we can bill their insurance for their chiropractic care, but, according to their policy, nothing will go toward their deductible.  So, they’re paying their monthly premium, paying full price for their care, and they get no deductible benefit.  In effect, they are just paying for a catastrophic policy since the only care that applies to their deductible is emergency care (true emergency care, not acute care).

Now, you may have better or worse coverage, but these are the averages.  Also, keep in mind that your preferred doctor may not accept your insurance.  That doesn’t mean you cannot be seen by them, it just means your insurance won’t pay.  Just because you pay your premium every month, does not mean that your doctor has a contract with that company.  Each doctor can choose with whom he/she wishes to conduct business.

If you choose to go to a doctor that does not accept your insurance, you will be responsible for the entire amount of the visit out of your own pocket and the money you pay will NOT go toward your deductible or out of pocket expenses.  So, you’re paying your monthly premium as well as your office visit fees.

*If you have a doctor (Medical/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/etc) that you love,
you know that it’s well worth the cost!

What About Medication Costs?

The Arthritis Foundation posted a well researched blog regarding medication costs…mostly how they apply to arthritis medications, but their information applies in general as well.  The actual cost of medication is shrouded in mystery.  Most Americans pay only a portion of the cost for their prescriptions.  Most medical insurance providers contract with third-party companies called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to administer and process prescription drug claims.  The PBMs set the price that must be paid for prescriptions; usually a copayment- “a fixed price that represents a portion of the drug’s actual cost.”

 

Prescriptions are in a Tier System

Terminology may vary, but the typical three-tier copayment system looks like this:

  • Tier one – generic drugs average $11 
  • Tier two – “preferred,” “approved,” or “formulary” drugs.  Brand-name medications included in a list of drugs covered by the plan.  Average $31
  • Tier three – “non-preferred,” “non-approved,” or “non-formulary” drugs.  Brand-name medications not included in a PBM’s formulary.  Average $53

“A number of PBMs have added Tier four –  “specialty drugs.” Instead of a fixed copayment, many consumers pay  20 %- 50 %.

This is an issue for some people (like those with rheumatic conditions) who need biologic drugs in the specialty tiers.  “Biologics can cost $50,000 or more per year.”
(50k x 20%= $10,000) (Gower)

A 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that

  • 49% of Americans (158.3 million) use at least one prescription drug = $1.7 billion*
  • 23% of Americans (74.3 million) use three or more prescription drugs = $2.5 billion*
  • 12% of Americans (38.8 million) use five or more prescription drugs = $2.1 billion* (Therapeutic Drug Use)

So, if you’re taking one prescription a month at the tier one price, you’re paying $132/year for that medication in addition to your premiums and copayments.  Hopefully, you understand enough about medications to understand that every prescription has possible side effects.  You can visit drugs.com, type in what you’re taking and find out what side effects you may experience.

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What About Aromatherapy?

Unfortunately, many people seek out complimentary alternative medicines (CAM) as a last resort.  We have been conditioned in the United States to go to our medical doctor first and get a medication for whatever ails us instead of looking to more natural remedies.  I do believe, though, that the next generation (prompted by the unbelievably high cost of medical coverage) has started to seek out CAM to aid their bodies in healing themselves.

God created our bodies to heal themselves

They sometimes just need some assistance.  This is where CAM comes in.

CAM practitioners believe in bringing the body back into balance so that it can heal itself.  A CAM practitioner does not heal any maladies, they just assist the body to do what it naturally wants to do in the first place.

With that in mind, it is important to remember that you have a vital role to play in your body healing itself.  If you truly want to be well, you must take care of yourself so you don’t have to visit the doctor.

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • De-stress your life (focus on the things that matter)
  • Get massages (Lymph can only be moved through your body by mechanical means)
  • Keep your spine in alignment
  • Address an issue when it appears
  • Eliminate after every meal

If you get to the point where your body needs help getting back into balance, schedule a consultation with a Registered Aromatherapist (RA).  The RA will be able to create a blend specifically for you and the issue you’re facing.  As I said before,

Every blend is as individual as the person for whom it is made.
Therefore, every blend has a different cost

I have created blends for gas relief, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and insomnia that range $12-$25.   I have created facial blends, anti-pruritic blends, and shingles blends that range $54-$125.  The beautiful thing about CAM is that, unlike prescription meds that you end up taking for life…

once your body is in balance you don’t need to continue using the blend

One of my case studies ran out of the blend that I made to assist his body to relax a tight ligament following surgery and physical therapy.  He said that the area was almost fully healed and wanted to know if he needed to continue applying the blend.  I told him that if his body is working properly then he did not need more at this time.

The idea behind CAM is to encourage healing. 

So, the question still remains.  Is therapeutic aromatherapy affordable?

It depends on your perspective;
it is a decision that everyone must make for themselves. 

For me, there are certain CAMs that I will not do without; I don’t care if my insurance pays for it or not!  I told my hubs, I will never go without chiropractic care, acupuncture, or massages ever again.  Those three treatments, in addition to my own aromatherapy, keep me healthy.  I do not remember the last time I was sick.  That’s not to say that I never see my medical doctor; there is a place for allopathic medicine.  When I dropped my motorcycle and split open my knee, I needed to go to the ER for stitches and meds. When I was bitten by a cat and it got infected, I needed antibiotics.

Take Away

Each one of us must make choices every day.  For some, the choice to choose CAM to keep our bodies in balance, regardless of the cost, is an easy one.  For some, just trying to keep food on the table, gas in the tank, and paying the minimum required by the law for mandated insurance is all we can do.  I’ve been in both places.

Ultimately, the question is, how much is your health worth?  What standard of life do you want while you’re here on this planet?  Is it worth the money spent to live a quality life?  Only you can make that decision.

As always, please take the time to find a Registered Aromatherapist near you to ensure you are not causing harm to you or your loved ones.

To learn more about the history of our medical insurance system, listen to this Free thoughts podcast by libertarianism.org

 

*Calculated at the Tier one copayment

References

Gower, T. Drug pricing tiers. Retrieved from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/health-care/insurance-and-pharmacy/pricing-tiers.php

Out-of-pocket maximum/limits. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/out-of-pocket-maximum-limit/

Pennza, A.Average health insurance costs for 2017. Retrieved from https://www.zanebenefits.com/blog/affordable-care-act-policy-costs-up-in-2017

Therapeutic drug use. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-therapeutic.htm

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