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Insurance Data Shows Lower Costs Among CAM Patients

by John Weeks

Examination of Washington State Insurance Data Shows Lower Costs Among Insured Using CAM Practitioners An analysis of insurance data in Washington State found that insured patients with back pain, fibromyalgia (FMS), and menopause symptoms who use licensed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners had lower insurance expenditures than those who did not use CAM.1 The study minimized selection bias by matching patients who go to CAM providers to those who do not. The researchers concluded: “CAM users had higher outpatient expenditures that were offset by lower inpatient and imaging expenditures. The largest difference was seen in patients with the heaviest disease burdens, among whom CAM users averaged $1420 less than nonusers (P<.0001), which more than offset slightly higher average expenditures of $158 among CAM users with lower disease burdens.”

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