Complementary medicine: Who bears the costs?

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Blog series “Your questions – our answers”
When conventional medicine runs out of answers, many patients turn to complementary medicine. But what therapeutic methods and procedures will health insurers actually pay for? Our AXA expert explains what health insurance funds will cover and to what extent.

The terms “complementary medicine” and “alternative medicine” encompass a range of therapies, remedies, and diagnostic procedures that do not fall within the scope of conventional medicine. Whereas the latter focuses on individual symptoms, approaches under alternative medicine are based on a holistic view and explore the background to illnesses. Such treatment methods are becoming increasingly popular – particularly when conventional medicine can no longer help.

Limited assumption of costs by basic insurance

Mandatory basic health insurance only covers complementary-medicine treatment methods to a limited extent. Since 2012, basic insurance has covered five alternative methods of treatment:

  • Anthroposophic medicine: an integrative medical system based around the spiritual and psychological needs of the individual
  • Homeopathy: treatments with special homeopathic medicinal products
  • Neural therapy: method used to treat pain based on the injection of anesthetic into the body
  • Phytotherapy: a therapeutic method that uses plants and their active ingredients
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): traditional medical and diagnostic system developed in China

Costs are only covered when treatment is provided by recognized doctors with the appropriate training. In addition, the chosen excess is deducted from the payment provided.

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