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Why do I have to pay for some of my blood tests when I visit an Integrative Doctor or Naturopath?


with Reine DuBois

When you visit an integrative doctor or naturopath, you might wonder why you have to pay for some of your blood tests. This payment requirement stems from various factors related to healthcare billing, insurance, and the nature of integrative medicine:

Integrative doctors and naturopaths offer a wide range of services that extend beyond conventional medical care. These services often include nutritional counselling, lifestyle assessments, herbal medicine, and alternative therapies. Blood tests are frequently used to assess nutritional supplement requirements accurately.

These healthcare providers utilise a mix of private pathology tests, including digestive stool analysis, organic acids, and urinary hormonal testing, to comprehensively evaluate how different bodily systems are functioning both individually and collectively.

They also employ standard pathology tests to gauge overall health and function, such as blood acidity, blood protein levels, liver and kidney function, thyroid function, and nutrient levels like B12, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and folate.

  1. Mainstream medicine typically focuses on diagnosing and monitoring diseases, while integrative medicine takes a holistic approach, examining the harmony (or lack thereof) among various bodily systems.
  2. Integrative practitioners often have different reference ranges for interpreting pathology results, emphasising optimal health, as opposed to the disease-focused reference ranges used by mainstream doctors.
  3. Medicare typically covers medical services provided by allopathic (conventional) doctors and specialists, but it may not cover certain alternative or complementary treatments offered by integrative doctors or naturopaths, including blood tests conducted as part of these treatments.
  4. Out-of-pocket expenses are common when seeking care from integrative practitioners, which may include covering the costs of services not covered by Medicare, such as blood tests considered part of alternative or complementary approaches.

To navigate these costs, it’s crucial to have an upfront discussion with your healthcare provider about their billing practices, service costs, and potential coverage by your healthcare plan.

It’s worth noting that a significant proportion of Australians have shown a growing interest in complementary and integrative medicine as part of their healthcare approach. Reports indicate that about three out of four Australians use some form of complementary or integrative medicine, not only to address specific health issues but also for preventative healthcare. This reflects a broader trend of individuals seeking alternatives to conventional medical treatments, emphasising a holistic approach that aims to treat underlying causes of health conditions rather than just addressing symptoms. This high level of engagement underscores the importance of these approaches in Australia’s healthcare landscape and highlights the need for comprehensive healthcare policies that consider both conventional and complementary therapies to promote overall well-being.

Private testing can offer several benefits when it comes to understanding the root cause of a disease or health issue:

Comprehensive Analysis: Private testing often provides a broader range of diagnostic tests and assessments compared to standard, insurance-covered testing. This can allow for a more comprehensive analysis of your health, potentially uncovering underlying factors that may be missed with basic testing.

Personalised Approach: Private testing is a key component of functional medicine, which takes a personalised approach to healthcare. It focuses on identifying unique factors contributing to your health concerns, such as genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and environmental factors.

Early Detection: Private testing may include advanced screenings that can detect health issues at an earlier stage, enabling proactive steps to address them before they progress.

Tailored Treatment Plans: With a deeper understanding of the root causes of your disease or health condition, healthcare providers can create more targeted and personalised treatment plans, leading to more effective interventions and improved health outcomes.

Holistic Care: Functional medicine, often associated with private testing, emphasises a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of various bodily systems. It seeks to address the underlying imbalances contributing to health problems rather than just treating symptoms.

Lifestyle Recommendations: Private testing may provide insights into lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and supplementation that can support overall health and address the root causes of your condition.

Patient Empowerment: Many individuals find value in private testing because it empowers them to take an active role in their healthcare journey. It provides a deeper understanding of their health, which can lead to more informed decisions and lifestyle changes. However, it’s essential to consider the costs associated with private testing, as it may not always be covered by insurance. This decision should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider, who can help determine whether private testing is appropriate for your specific health concerns and circumstances.

Reine DuBois  is an Integrative Naturopath and Clinical Director at The Health Lodge. As an Integrative Naturopath, Reine possesses an exceptional capacity to see and understand the intricacies of the human system. She is well-known for uncovering complex health conditions and coordinating treatments for chronic health issues. 

To learn more about Reine and her offerings, click here

Or book online here

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