Health Mark Q. 1998 ; 16(1): 11-24.
Alternative medicine as a carve-out in managed care.
Our Lady of the Lake University, Houston, TX, USA. [email protected]
A major philosophical shift continues to occur in how health care is delivered in the United States. Traditional western medicine continues to develop new technologies that require new delivery systems, however, other factors are affecting this shift as well. Alternative medicine is one of these factors and is rapidly gaining attention. Alternative medicine is comprised of homeopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, and cultural beliefs and practices such as those of the Native Americans or the Mexican Folk healers. Several managed care plans are now including alternative medicine as part of their product lines. Employers are moving from a passive role to an aggressive one in the selection of health care services available to their work force. This is in response to the changing demographics of the United States and the increased sensitivity to diversity in the work-place. Managed care companies have a marketing opportunity to increase their share of the market by looking at alternative medicine as a new product line designed to attract new subscribers. As with behavioral medicine, alternative medicine does not fit into the systems developed for delivering medical-surgical services. It, however, does not fit the systems developed for behavioral medicine either and appears to be a carve-out onto itself.