HAP Medicare Advantage Options To Include Acupuncture, Chiropractic Services

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Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is adding acupuncture and chiropractic services to its Flexible Health Options Benefit for Medicare Advantage members beginning January 1, 2009. HAP's growing list of services to promote wellness encourages Medicare beneficiaries to choose activities and services they want, while putting money back in their wallets.

HAP offers a Flexible Health Options Benefit to members of HAP Senior Plus and Alliance Medicare PPO plans that reimburses members up to $20 monthly ($240 annually) toward the cost of fitness classes, swimming, yoga, Tai Chi, weight training, or other activities at any gym, fitness facility or health club either at home or abroad. Members may also choose a qualified weight management program like Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss or Jenny Craig.

"With the holiday season upon us, this is a great time to be thinking about wellness resolutions for 2009," said Karen Wintringham, vice president, Medicare and Public Sector Programs, Health Alliance Plan. "So, if you just can't resist a second helping -- know that in January,

you can take advantage of HAP's weight loss or exercise Flexible Health Options Benefit to help shed those holiday pounds."

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Since the Flexible Benefit was first launched in January 2008, more than 600 HAP Medicare Advantage members have used it. This number is expected to grow in 2009 with the addition of two reimbursable complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services.

Beginning January 1, 2009, HAP Medicare Advantage members can elect to use their benefit reimbursement of up to $20 per month for acupuncture or chiropractic services not otherwise covered by Medicare.

Approximately 20 percent of American adults have received chiropractic care, and an estimated 8.2 million adults have used acupuncture, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Many people who seek chiropractic care have chronic, pain-related health conditions -- most commonly low-back pain, neck pain and headache. A growing body of research suggests that acupuncture may help to ease some side effects of breast, head and neck cancer treatment; decrease the need for post-op painkillers; and relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis.

To receive the Flexible Health Options Benefit, HAP Senior Plus and Alliance Medicare PPO members can mail a completed form and a receipt to HAP each month, showing they paid a fee for a qualifying membership or service. Unused amounts cannot be rolled over to future months. Benefits provided through individual plans and employer group plans may vary.

Current HAP Senior Plus members may call 1-800-801-1770 toll-free for more information or for monthly benefit claim forms. Alliance Medicare PPO beneficiaries may call 1-888-658-2536 toll-free for information or for monthly benefit claim forms.

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