Medical Insurance Benefit Changes for 2018: Naturopathic physicians are being excluded as PCP’s in individual plans. The open enrollment period for 2018 medical insurance benefits began on November 1, 2017. Unfortunately, it appears that medical benefits in the individual market beginning in January will have limited access to naturopathic care. The reason for this limitation is that all benefit plans being offered in the individual market in most Washington counties are either HMO or ACO-based plans (check your area). Such plans require the patient to name a primary care provider (PCP) to coordinate all of their care–and NONE of these companies recognize NDs and PCPs. This means that the patient may no longer have coverage for naturopathic services, although they may be able to see an ND as a specialist and pay a higher co-pay. Also, as a specialist, an ND will not be able to provide annual exams or routine check ups, order labs or make referrals unless the patient chooses to pay cash to do so.
What can you do? Contact the OIC and register a complaint about limited access to naturopathic primary care at https://www.insurance.wa.gov/file-complaint-or-check-your-complaint-status .