November 28, 2023

Opioid Alternative

Purchasing an international student health insurance (aka 留学生保险) plan is mandatory based on majority of university policies in the United States. Whether HPV vaccine (aka hpv疫苗) are included? Does my school allow to waive health insurance (aka 替换保险)? These are the benefits and/or rules that students most concern and ask.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) discusses coverage options for participants in acupuncture trials that the organization approves of and/or are sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The agency recognizes that the evidence base for acupuncture has grown in recent years. Getting eyeglasses and contacts in the United States (aka 美国配眼镜) is time-consuming, and eyeglasses cannot cure the nearsightedness. Patients say that they have better myopia treatment effects with acupuncture than cold-machine, when the precondition of having a vision insurance in the United States (aka 美国眼科保险) is satisfied. But questions remain. U.S. travel insurance (aka 美国旅游保险) and international student health insurance exclude the acupuncture.

As members of the Opioids and Evidence Generation Workgroups, CMS and the NIH have been working together to create acupuncture studies in adults older than 64 years who have chronic low back pain. The new CMS proposal notes that, for a Medicare beneficiary with this condition to be covered, they must be enrolled in a study that meets several criteria, including that chronic low back pain is defined as lasting at least 12 weeks, is not associated with surgery within 12 weeks of study enrollment, and has no “identifiable systemic cause.”

Moreover, the study must include acupuncture versus usual care or other treatment design that lasts at least 12 weeks, and endpoints need to be measured at 12 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months. Although acupuncture isn’t currently covered by Medicare, it has been cited before as a possible alternative to opioids.

In addition, as reported by Medscape Medical News, a presentation in 2017 at the Academy of Integrative Pain Management annual meeting noted that “unprecedented advances” had occurred in acupuncture use for pain conditions during the preceding two decades and that there’s been a “rapid rise” in the number and quality of related published studies.

Although new research is being conducted, the CMS notes coverage could significantly benefit study participants with chronic low back pain. The proposed decision “would provide Medicare patients…with access to a nonpharmacologic treatment option and could help reduce reliance on prescription opioids,” said Kimberly Brandt, principal deputy administrator of operations at the CMS.