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Is my acupuncture or naturopathic visit covered by my health insurance?

The answer depends on the insurance provider and even then it can change over time. Just knowing you have acupuncture coverage simply is not enough nowadays…many insurance companies have “fine print” they do not share with you over the phone or in the brochures. Some insurance companies place many restrictions on what is allowed, such as only covering acupuncture for anesthesia during a surgery. The best way to find out if you’re covered is to call your current health insurance company and ask them all the questions found in this form. Even then, there can still be unforeseen restrictions or limits. But it will give you a much better idea.

Which health insurance plans is Dr. Huang in-network with?

Dr. Huang is in-network with the following (please note that every plan is different and even if you have an in-network plan, you may still have a balance due to deductibles or other unforeseen restrictions):

Regence Kaiser Permanente (First Choice Option only)*
Uniform First Choice
Moda BCBS (if it goes through Regence but not if it goes through Premera)

*Dr. Huang is NOT in-network with Kaiser Permanente, however, many Kaiser Permanente plans do include a First Choice option in which case, she would be considered in-network. Frequently “First Choice Health” is written somewhere on the insurance card if you do have this option. Feel free to call us if you have any questions.

Dr. Huang is out-of-network with the following (which means the fee is due at the time of the appointment but we will provide a superbill for you to submit to your insurance for potential reimbursement):

Regence Medicare Advantage Kaiser Permanente (without the First Choice Option)*
Medicare Aetna
Ambetter/Humana United Healthcare
Cigna Premera

Fees vary for naturopathic office visits depending on time/complexity. Acupuncture fees are typically $125 per session if paid at the time of service.

How does Chinese medicine apply today?

In ancient times, people lived in the wilderness, in tune with the seasons and as the text Su Wen states: their hearts were not burdened with aspirations of fame and profit. As a result, they rarely became ill living in such a serene environment. Modern society, however, has made chronic stress and overwork the norm. Virtually everyone is under stress and most of us do not have the effective (healthy) tools needed to manage it. Some are too busy while others do not even realize they are stressed it has become such a pervasive part of our lives. We are in perpetual frenetic motion, moving against nature, until our health fails to the point where it stops us.

With chronic stress or pain the quick fix is frustratingly ineffective. There is an energetic root to the problem that caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol and painkillers do not reach. Classical Chinese medicine addresses this along with the physical symptoms by aligning us back with nature, bringing us a little closer to the ancient times the classics spoke of when health came much more effortlessly.

Where did acupuncture come from and what is it based on?

Chinese medicine is one of the oldest medical systems in the world, dating as far back as 2000 B.C.—it includes many methods of treatment (herbs, cupping, moxibustion, diet/lifestyle, etc.) but the therapy most people associate with Chinese medicine is acupuncture. A few thousand years ago, pieces of stone or bone were used as acupuncture needles. Today, sterilized, disposable, very thin stainless steel needles are used.

Acupuncture is based on the view that energy flows within a network of channels in the body the way water runs through streams. When the energy is blocked—if the river is obstructed by fallen trees or debris—the energy can’t flow smoothly and pain or dysfunction will result.

How does acupuncture work, what are its benefits and what does it feel like?

Acupuncture needles tap into source points along the channel to clear away the obstructions so that the energy can flow freely—it breaks up the debris and lets the water run smoothly along the river again.

As a result, acupuncture can:

~ reduce pain
~ relax the body        
~ alleviate stress

~ regulate the emotions
~ increase energy levels
~ improve your health

The sensation you feel when the needles are inserted vary but should never be painful. At times, you may feel a dull ache or tingle. Most people feel very relaxed after the needles are in and even fall asleep during the treatment.

What are the physiological effects of acupuncture?

Acupuncture can induce the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins, certain hormones and immunological factors.  It also modulates neurotransmitter levels such as dopamine and serotonin which explains how acupuncture influences the mind as well as the body. The clearest example that acupuncture works for pain is how it has been used successfully in place of chemical anesthesia for many types of surgery in China over the last 30 years.  

What is the goal of acupuncture?

With acupuncture, the energy in the body flows more smoothly, affecting both the physical and emotional realm. When you relax the body, you relax the mind and vice versa. As your pain and stress levels recede you are able to settle into a space of awareness that allows you to engender deep change and healing. Acupuncture resolves the underlying disharmony causing your symptoms and heals the mind, body and spirit making it a truly holistic therapy.