Tis the Season for Insurance Enrollments. What the Headache Sufferer Should Know

There is no illusion here that there is a good insurance plan for the headache sufferer. The headache sufferer will be discriminated by all insurance plans. But the real question is which one does it the least?

I will say the in our area, Regence has the better plans for headache sufferers. They will, at least, consider what we say is the best treatment . . . sometimes.

As you consider a plan I would ask hard questions. Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurance companies are  courting your business.  The simple best question is, “Do you have a provider, board certified in Headache Medicine who advises your company?”  A neurologist is not a substitute for a headache specialist. Some insurance companies even have retired pediatricians or dermatologists setting all their guidelines for headache care.  That is totally  unacceptable and headache patients deserve better.

Also, ask them if they recognize Headache Medicine as a specialty. They don’t, but by asking the question, and demanding that they change, change may eventually come.

I see the future for headache sufferers, until we have a good national healthcare system (single payor and a GOOD one, not a bad one), I think the best course is to pay only for catastrophic insurance and to rely on cash service for the day to day care. I know that this does not sound practical, however, the insured are already paying extremely high prices for insurance premiums and if they have headaches as their major problem, that insurance will cover virtually nothing that they really need.

Today is the last day of Pacific Rim Headache Center.  If I were to start over, I would not do business with any insurance company. In the end, I estimate that 80% of our  emotional, practical and financial energy was completely wasted on insurance companies and they fought hard to put us out of business . . . and succeeded. It would much better for a headache specialist to give 100% of their energy to the patient and helping them to get better. Without the drain of doing business with insurance companies (the software to deal with them cost us well over $2,000/month), a practice like ours could have charged 60% less for visits, putting it within reach of cash-paying patients. That, I think is the future for good headache care . . . unless there is a miracle some day where headache sufferers are given the same respect and resources by society as cancer . . . or even erectile dysfunction for that matter.  We have to keep fighting.