Michigan Association of Chiropractors Announces Big Wins in Fight Against Discrimination


Friday, Aug. 10, 2007

Contact: Joe Ross

Cell: 517-281-3069 Office: 517-333-3133


LANSING – The Michigan Association of Chiropractors’ (MAC) Board of Directors and Legal Affairs and Insurance Committees are committed to taking aggressive legal action against any and all health plans that unlawfully discriminate against doctors of chiropractic and their patients. As a result of this aggressive legal action, the MAC recently secured two critical, hard-fought victories.


“These wins send a very strong message to Michigan insurers,” said MAC President Kirk Steketee, DC. “Doctors of chiropractic will continue to fight for our right to practice and the rights of our patients to receive chiropractic treatment.”


 MAC president, Kirk Steketee

In early July, Michigan Insurance Commissioner Linda Watters declared Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s (BCBSM) Healthy Blue insurance options unlawful and ordered BCBSM to withdraw them from the market. The Healthy Blue policies excluded doctors of chiropractic from performing physical medicine modalities and other services within Michigan’s chiropractic scope of practice.


Michigan law authorizes the commissioner to disapprove any certificate that contains provisions that are “unjust, unfair, inequitable, misleading, deceptive, or which encourage misrepresentation of the coverage.” Watters ruled that a certificate that discriminates against a class of health care providers is “unfair” under this law. In other words, once BCBSM offers coverage for a particular medical service, it may not exclude a class of providers from being paid for that service, so long as the provider is authorized by law and professional license to administer that service.


Furthermore, Watters noted that Blue Cross may not exclude spinal manipulative therapy from their coverages unless the exclusion is equally applied to all provider groups. This means that policies cannot discriminate against one provider group while allowing other providers to perform the excluded service.


Finally, Watters stated that, to the extent DCs are permitted by scope and licensure to perform physical therapy, they must be treated in the same manner as other providers
authorized to provide physical therapy.

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