Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not Covered – Keep Looking

I know I need to do the elimination diet again. I have done the diet one and a half times already and thought it was successful both times. Even with this experience and the research I’ve done, I know I need help when I do it again.

The first time I did the diet, I jumped right into it after doing some research. Since I had never done any type of diet before, I decided to eliminate everything but a few items because I never wanted to go on another diet again. I basically had the same breakfast, the same lunch and the same dinner every day until I started adding back different items into my diet one at a time. At least doing the diet this way, I had that little variety from meal to meal during the day.

I approached the second diet in the same manner. However in the process of that diet, I started having thyroid issues and decided to stop my diet midway through. I don’t know if my thyroid issues were seasonally connected or diet related. I still have another thyroid ultrasound and a visit with the endocrinologist coming up, but I haven’t made up my mind if I want to keep those appointments yet. I know how off I felt when my thyroid was out of whack and don't want to feel that same way again.

In less than two weeks, I will finally go to my new Migraine specialist and wanted to find out what I could about a dietitian before my visit as I expect the new doctor will want me to go on another elimination diet too. I’ve been trying to get as prepared for this doctor appointment as I can which includes getting ready for some of the answers to the many questions I already have on my list for him. I also want to be set to start moving forward right after the appointment.

When I looked back through my Migraine charts, I could see a sustained drop in the number of Migraines I was getting while I was on this last diet. Since I have already found many food triggers and don’t know if my last elimination diet helped throw off some of my thyroid levels, I started looking to see if my insurance covered visits to a dietitian. I could see some dietitians on my docfind list which is where I go to find doctors who accept my insurance so I thought it was definitely worth a few phone calls to find out.

I started my quest off by calling my company’s benefits department. They couldn’t tell me if a dietitian was covered so they referred me to our insurance carrier. Even with a three hundred five percent health insurance premium increase starting with my next paycheck, my insurance does not cover visits with a dietitian or even other alternative Migraine treatments like chiropractic or massage therapies. The insurance lady said that they wouldn’t even cover a dietitian for things like diabetes or obesity and that the dietitians services would be charged at a full rate; not a reduced negotiated rate.

We had already discussed that I have chronic Migraines and that I was looking to get some help if I go on an elimination diet. I know I can get a little sensitive at times, but I had to make a comment back to her about it also being important for people with Migraines to find the right foods since what we eat can trigger Migraines too. Migraines need to be better understood too.

It wouldn’t matter if my doctor prescribed a dietitian, chiropractor or even massage therapy, my insurance company would not cover the alternative service. Although they don’t cover dietitians, I did find out that they have another program I can use where I can get twenty-five percent off of the cost when visiting an approved dietitian so I ended up calling this other program for more details.

With all of our increased medical expenses and not having all of the coverage we need to properly treat our Migraines, sometimes it’s nice to find hidden ways that we can still save a little money to help us along our Migraine journey. With the food triggers I know I already have, wanting to test for additional tough food triggers and not wanting to throw other systems like my thyroid out of whack, I know I need the individualized attention of a dietitian. I also want to test tyramine as a possible trigger and can’t do that on my own.

This additional twenty-five percent off benefit was never advertised in any of our benefit literature. My own company’s benefit department was not aware that it existed or even that dietitians were not covered by our insurance. It pays to ask questions even if you don’t think it’s going to pay off. I honestly didn’t expect anything by the phone calls I made, but figured I had nothing to lose by calling.

I am so glad I made these ‘useless’ calls and found this additional hidden perk that I will most likely use in the new year. I also have the luxury of knowing that I have a discount available for chiropractors or massage therapists if that is an alternative my new specialist would like to try.

Have you found any hidden treasures that have helped you with your Migraines or at least reduced to cost of your Migraine care?



WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

MP - great deal about the dietician discount!! - my insurance will only cover a dietician of you are already hospitalized and get a dietary "consult". Since my diet has become so limited, I realize that too much elimination can lead to elimination of essential proteins and vitamins and minerals. Glad you researched it. I will have to see if there are any hidden discounts with my coverage!!!

MigrainePuppet said...

I was real surprised to find this discount. Every little bit of savings helps. I'm finding more things I can't eat right now too which is why I feel I need help. It's so nice to see you back! Good luck in finding your hidden discounts!!

Denver Chiropractor said...

Insurance coverage can be poor for these types of things. I know a lot of people can benefit from dieticians, chiropractors and massage therapists. There are several programs and discount services. Even so the benefit of paying for your health, will most certainly be worth the out of pocket cost. Good luck with your elimination diet. It certainly helped me!

MigrainePuppet said...

Thanks Denver. It is nice when we can find an easier way to help pay for these beneficial services.