Covering Alternative Therapies


May 15, 2000 — I’ve tried everything for flexible spending account that allows workers to set aside tax-free money for medical expenses. Ask your employer for specifics. Also check with the Internal Revenue Service: Only certain alternatives, such as chiropractic and acupuncture, qualify as legitimate deductions.

Pressure from consumers, leading to pressure from employers, definitely makes a difference, says Richard Coorsch, spokesman for the Insurance Association of America. “If there is demand, insurers will write policies,” he says. “You’re seeing more of it.”

Because I’m self-employed, the only person I can pressure is myself. But since I’m feeling so much better, I’m counting on big savings on the costs of prescription co-payments and facial tissues.

Sally Lehrman is a freelance writer based in San Francisco who specializes in medical technology and health issues. Her work has appeared in Health, Nature,, and other publications and web sites.