If you have been in a car accident, chances are your automobile insurance will be paying for your medical care, not your health insurance. It’s reasonable to assume that any licensed health practitioner in the state of Washington would be eligible to administer proper care, but how do auto insurance companies look at it?

Alternative medicine in Washington state

In addition to MDs and DOs (medical doctors and osteopaths), Washington state also licenses chiropractors, naturopaths, and acupuncturists as primary healthcare practitioners. All are variously eligible for coverage under most healthcare plans, though their scopes of practice are limited. Chiropractors are subject to some of the narrowest practice restrictions of all 50 states. They are allowed to do little more than adjust the spine and most physical therapy that does not directly relate to spinal manipulation is not allowed. Some also employ massage therapists.

Naturopaths have long enjoyed a fairly broad scope of practice, including physical therapy. Acupuncturists now fall under the broader category of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. In addition to acupuncture, they may also utilize traditional Chinese herbs and formulas.

Automobile insurance

Auto insurance is, of course, obligatory and covers the basics of personal liability for causing injury to others. Following an accident in which people are injured, those involved are encouraged to seek out and get the care they need without delay while agents of the insurance companies involved hash out who should pay for what.
The process can and does commonly take two or three years. Insurance companies work from actuarial tables which guide them as to what is “reasonable and customary” for accidents of varying severity. Auto insurance will cover reasonable and customary medical expenses, regardless of who administers them, so the answer is yes. Insurance will pay for your chiropractor or acupuncturist to treat you as long as the total bill does not exceed the average.
When it does exceed the average, the patient may then consider the services of a personal injury lawyer. These are lawyers that specialize in negotiating settlements with insurance companies to get the client (and themselves) the best deal possible for not just medical care but other matters like car repair and intangibles like pain and suffering.

Personal injury lawyers

A quick search of personal injury attorneys in Tacoma will reveal a bewildering array of services under the category of “personal injury.” In addition to car crashes, you will find such injuries as dog bites, nursing home liability, and wrongful death. These lawyers know what insurance companies consider reasonable and customary. They can not only help you get a realistic settlement, they will function as your advocate against insurance professionals whose job is to keep from paying out any more money than necessary.

When you consider that your care will ultimately be limited to a certain reasonable and customary amount, those dollars may go farther if spent on a chiropractor or massage therapist than in a standard medical and physical therapy clinic.