Lawsuit Demands Parity

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a clause that outlaws discrimination against natural medicine primary care providers and other state-licensed “alternative” care providers, some insurance companies have been slow to comply. Fed up with the delay, the American Chiropractic Association is suing major carriers. Meanwhile, in July, the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OANP) filed a class action lawsuit against Health Net and its health plan administrator, American Specialty Health Group Inc., alleging insurance discrimination against naturopathic patients. The OANP was also instrumental in passage of a state anti-discrimination measure by the Oregon Legislature, the first by any state. The new law codifies the concept that all licensed primary care providers in Oregon should be treated and reimbursed equally. The legislation is intended to protect natural medicine primary care providers in the event the ACA is watered down or repealed.