State Legislation and the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Published in: Inquiry, v. 37, no. 4, Winter 2000-01, p. 423-429

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Roland Sturm, Jurgen Unutzer

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There are increasing attempts at the federal and state levels to change regulations for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The authors use data from a new survey of about 10,000 individuals to examine CAM use and insurance coverage and their relationship to state regulations. They find that insurance mandates to cover CAM providers are significantly associated with increased coverage of CAM, but not with increased use of CAM providers. Liberalization of physician licensure to practice CAM is associated with significantly increased CAM use, as are practice laws authorizing nonphysician CAM providers. In states with multiple CAM practice laws, insurance coverage for CAM visits among users is significantly lower than in states without CAM practice laws.

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