Yes, Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts are an effective method to reduce your costs for health care we provide and most of the supplements we prescribe and sell to our patients. Many insurance health plans now have large deductibles which make it difficult to receive any reimbursement or payments from the insurance policy. Thus, an HSA could provide definite tax benefits which reduce the patient’s net expense of health care costs for services and any supplements. The time spent reviewing the requirements and benefits are well worth your time. Most HSA plans are managed by a bank. The link here will provide information on one specific bank’s plan as an example. Health Savings Accounts are better than Flexible Spending if you are eligible for them. They are much more accepting of charges on the account and your funds are available for as many years as you have funds available. Flexible Savings Accounts are much more stringent in their acceptance of charges, plus the funds usually expire at the end of each year which may cause you to lose funds.
We can ship supplements to your home or to any location you may request including vacations etc. This is the easiest and most convenient method of purchasing all the different supplements that our practitioners prescribe. If you can’t remember what specific supplement or quantity you have been taking we can check your history and ensure we sell and ship you the correct supplement. If a supplement has been discontinued or reformulated Randee will review alternative products that meet her criteria and make those substitutions. If you have a specific request that we don’t carry ask us and we will order it for you. We typically place orders every week to ten days. Also, ask our office staff about our “Free Shipping” and don’t forget to use HSA Cards or Flex Spending Cards when purchasing supplements if you have them. The savings can be considerable.
We make available most all the supplements that are prescribed by our health care providers for a couple simple reasons. First, the health providers prescribe supplements that are designed for specific deficiencies that their patients have been tested for. They are continually reviewing products and meet with manufacture clinicians to understand the latest studies and benefits. Second and most importantly, the health providers monitor the success of their prescribed supplements with other patients and make substitutions if the results are not successful. We utilize pharmacutical grade supplements from over twenty manufactures providing consistent results and the options to substitute when necessary.
Feb. 3, 2015 New York Attorney General
“Cease And Desist Letters Sent To GNC, Target, Walgreens And Walmart As Most Store Brand Supplements Were Found To Contain Contaminants Not Identified On Ingredient Labels; Just 21% Of Supplement Tests Identified DNA From Plant Species Listed On Labels”
Attorney General of New York Schneiderman: Mislabeled Consumer Products Pose Unacceptable Health Hazards. “This investigation makes one thing abundantly clear: the old adage ‘buyer beware’ may be especially true for consumers of herbal supplements,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
Physician grade supplements are pharmaceutical quality meaning they are developed and manufactured under drug standards. Most are developed to supplement specific deficiencies for the human body. The supplements we prescribe provide consistent results based on the results we achieve with our patients. We have approximately twenty-five pharmaceutical grade manufactures we use and select the most effective products from most of these companies
Capsules vs Tablets
Thorne Research statements about the benefits of “Capsules” used in pharmaceutical grade supplements. Encapsulating nutritional supplements offers significant advantages over tableting. First and foremost is the greater purity and bioavailability of the nutrients in the product. Making tablets requires that other substances be added in addition to the nutrients; for example, binders, lubricants, coatings, disintegrants, and other excipients are the substances most commonly used by tablet manufacturers. These substances are added to make the tablet stay together, to make the tablet shiny, and to make the tablet break apart.
Tableting machines compress the powdered nutrients (that have already been mixed with binders and lubricants) with tremendous amounts of force. Then, to make them shiny and easier to swallow, tablets are often sprayed with coatings such as shellac – like the shellac found on furniture but instead labeled “pharmaceutical glaze” – or coated with vegetable protein, most often a protein derived from corn.
Manufacturing Consistency with Pharmaceutical Grade Supplements
Below is a short clip about one of the key companies producing pharmaceutical supplements that we use; Pure Encapsulations. Randee has toured their manufacturing facilities in Sudbury Mass. and talked with their product development team regarding their present products and potential products. Since she relies on supplements as a component of her therapy she is continually evaluating supplements and tracking their success with patients. Using her recommended supplements result in better and faster results. She uses several manufactures for the most effective products for specific illnesses.
What is the difference between bio-identical hormones and pharmaceutical hormones?
Bio-identical/Compounded Hormones: Sometimes called natural or human identical hormones, the “biologically-identical” hormones are derived from soybean or wild yam plants that are converted in a laboratory to become identical both chemically and functionally as the human hormones. The key to identifying what is natural is not the source of the hormone but rather the identical or matching characteristics to the hormone it is replacing. In other words “bio-identical hormones” do not come from cadavers or humans but match human hormones identically. The more identical a substance is to the human hormone it is replacing the least amount of side effects, allergic responses and sensitivities occur. Studies have shown for instance, that the closer insulin (another hormone) is to the human form the better it works.
Randee believes that not only should the hormone be as close to its natural form as possible but it should also be balanced with the other hormones in your body. Therefore she tests your hormone levels and balances them to avoid possible side effects from being out of balance. For instance women who are progesterone deficient and have too much estrogen can have heavy periods with clotting, menstrual cramping, endometriosis, fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, insomnia etc. Being in balance will eliminate or decrease the symptoms associated with the imbalance in many cases.
Synthetic/Pharmaceutical hormones (such as Premarin and Provera) are made in a laboratory also. Premarin is made from pregnant mare’s urine and is called a xeno-extrogen. Provera or medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is called a progestin. These are not chemically identical to the bodies own hormones and thus the side effects, allergic responses, and sensitivities are greater. The studies regarding breast cancer and hormone replacement were done on Premarin and Provera. A natural substance cannot be patented by pharmaceutical companies therefore the natural hormone must be altered.
Another form of hormone used in pharmaceuticals is covered by a process patent which covers the way a substance is processed and then used. So some pharmaceutical hormones are “bio-identical” (chemically identical to the body) because the patent is on the form they are in. The disadvantage is the limited doses available.
We use numerous lab tests when beneficial to determine the nature of potential health issues. Some of these may include hormone, cholesterol, allergy, neurotransmitters, environmental toxins, lyme, and vitamins. In many cases we will use combinations alternating between two or more methods for base references. Most of the common lab test costs are reimbursed if the lab is a “Participating Lab” with the patients insurance. Lab companies like LabCorp and Mid-America are common labs that “Participate” in most insurance plans. Some specialized labs, however, are not “Participating Labs” and insurance companies may or may not reimburse for those costs. It is best to check with your insurance company’s reimbursement policies. Most specialty labs can take several weeks before the results are received in our office and additional time is required to interpret the labs and develop a treatment plan. The follow-up appointment is critical providing a synopsis of the interpretations and the patient’s recommended treatment plan. It is best to make follow-up appointments when lab tests are performed since we do not make appointments when the results are received.
Understanding costs for functional or alternative health care is extremely important for patients considering or continuing this type of care. Considering insurance coverage is important but may not be the most important. First, this type health care does not always match the typical or perfect criteria for reimbursements from insurance health plans, so in some cases reimbursements can be reduced or even denied even if a medical practice is “in network” with your insurance company. Second, most health insurance plans have initiated very high annual deductibles before their plans begin reimbursing for any healthcare, thus your office visit fees may not matter if your health provider is in network or not. Even though we may not be a “Participating” (In-Network) health provider with your specific insurance plan many of our lab tests are performed by “Participating” (In-Network) laboratory companies like Lab Corp and Mid-America. The costs for these labs are typically the largest component of your health care costs or investment as you should consider. There is no better investment than your health to you or your family.
Patients can use FSA or HSA accounts to pay for office visits along with any supplements but are responsible for paying for all fees at time of service. Reimbursements from their insurance company will be paid directly to the patient along with the patient’s insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB).