Oct. 12, 2004 -- Chiropractic care cuts health care costs, a new study shows.
The study comes from American Specialty Health Plans Inc. of San Diego. The company provides employers with health insurance coverage for complementary medicine, including chiropractic care and acupuncture.
The company compared four years of back pain claims from two groups: 700,000 health plan members with chiropractic care coverage and 1 million members with the same health plan without chiropractic care coverage. It's the largest study yet of how chiropractic care affects the cost of health care, notes study co-leader Douglas Metz, DC, chief health services officer at American Specialty Health.
"No matter how we perform the analysis -- whether we look at total costs to the health plan, at lower back pain care, at musculoskeletal care -- in each data set, the population covered for chiropractic had a lower overall cost to the health plan than the population without access to chiropractic benefits," Metz tells WebMD. "We believe this study is the first to show that chiropractic [care] can be a cost-effective treatment option for back pain."
Costs Down, Patient Satisfaction Up With Chiropractic Care
Compared with doctor-only health plans, the study found that:
- Chiropractic care cut the cost of treating back pain by 28%.
- Chiropractic care reduced hospitalizations among back pain patients by 41%.
- Chiropractic care reduced back surgeries by 32%.
- Chiropractic care reduced the cost of medical imaging, such as X-rays or MRIs, by 37%.