Cost Effectiveness


Maximizing your health with Chiropractic Care so you’re not dependent on allopathic drugs and surgery procedures is a key to your well-being as well as your financial future.

A 2012 systemic review found spinal manipulation therapy to be more cost-effective for neck and low back pain when compared with general practitioner care, physiotherapy or exercise. A study in 2007 compared care costs of a patient under the direction of a chiropractor as their primary care physician (PCP) versus a medical doctor. After 70,000 member-months spanning a 7-year period, hospital admission costs were decreased by 60.2 percent, cost of days spent in the hospital were decreased by 59.0 percent, and outpatient surgeries and procedures were down by 62.0 percent. If these numbers were not astonishing enough, the costs associated with pharmaceuticals decreased by 85 percent when compared to conventional medically driven care. All of these comparisons were done in the same time frame, geography, and health maintenance organization product.

Oakland University’s Stano Cost Comparison Study of 395,641 patients with one or more of 493 neuromusculoskeletal conditions was undertaken to compare the health care costs of patients who have received chiropractic treatment to those treated solely by medical or osteopathic physicians. The results showed that patients receiving chiropractic care experienced significantly lower health care costs. Chiropractic patients saved over $1000 per patient over the two-year study.​​

A health insurance plan with a chiropractic benefit had lower costs than a plan without it. A study reported in the American Medical Association’s journal found health plans that included a chiropractic benefit had 31 percent fewer back surgeries and 15 percent lower per capita hospital costs. The study compared 700,000 health plan members with chiropractic benefits to 1 million members without chiropractic benefits in California, and showed that overall health care expenditures were lower in the group with chiropractic coverage. Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, October 2004.​​

AV MED, a large HMO in the southeast, wanted to see if it could save money by having patients visit chiropractors for back pain. They chose 100 patients, eighty who had already been treated medically without results. In each case, the patient had been seen by an average of 1.8 medical doctors. After receiving chiropractic adjustments, not one of the 100 patients had to have surgery. Furthermore, 86 percent of them got better and none of them got worse. Herbert Davis, M.D., the medical director of AV MED, said that chiropractic care saved the HMO $250,000 in surgical costs alone!​​

A 1992 review of data from over 2,000,000 users of chiropractic care in the U.S., reported in the Journal of American Health Policy, stated that, “chiropractic users tend to have substantially lower total health care costs,” and “chiropractic care reduces the use of both physician and hospital care.”​​

​​A Landmark study was conducted by Dr. Ron Rupert and his team at Parker College. The study surveyed 311 chiropractic patients, aged 65 years and older, who had received chiropractic care for 5 years or longer. Despite similar health status, chiropractic patients receiving “maintenance or wellness care” for five years or longer, when compared with US citizens of the same age, spent only 31% of the national average for health care services. The chiropractic patients also experienced 50% fewer medical provider visits than their comparable peers.

What do these studies have to do with your future? The answer is “everything.” Heath care in the United States currently consumes about one in every six dollars spent in the United States, and will consume an estimated one in every five dollars by the year 2015. It is projected that by the end of the next decade, the government will be paying about half of the nation’s medical costs.

A new retrospective analysis of 70,274 member-months in a 7-year period within an IPA, comparing medical management to chiropractic management, demonstrated decreases of 60.2% in-hospital admissions, 59.0% hospital days, 62.0% outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 83% pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine IPA performance.  This clearly demonstrates that chiropractic nonsurgical nonpharmaceutical approaches generates reductions in both clinical and cost utilization when compared with PCPs using conventional medicine alone.  Source:  Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2007 (May); 30 (4): 263–269

Doctors of chiropractic serving as primary care physicians led to better clinical and cost outcomes. When doctors of chiropractic served as primary care physicians in an Illinois health maintenance organization (HMO), the results were substantially improved clinical and cost outcomes when compared to medical doctor care. The doctors of chiropractic, who emphasized preventive and wellness care, showed: a 43 percent reduction in patient hospital admissions, a 58 percent reduction in hospital days, a 43 percent reduction in outpatient surgeries and procedures, and a 51 percent reduction in pharmaceutical costs.  The study spanned four years and included 21,743 patient months. Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, June 2004.

Chiropractors who serve as primary care providers (PCPs) save clients money and have high patient satisfaction: A study tracked data from a unique Independent Physicians Association (IPA) where chiropractors serve as first-contact, primary care physicians. The report analyzes data from 2003-2005 and found that clients visiting chiropractors had 60% fewer hospitalizations, 62% fewer surgeries and used 85% fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO clients who received traditional medical care. In addition, clients reported on the quality of care they received through the use of annual patient satisfaction surveys.  During the 3 years of data, clients demonstrated a high degree of satisfaction with their care (96%, 94% and 91%, respectively).  Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics May 2007

Immediate access to chiropractic care after an injury results in the most effective outcome, medically and financially. A peer-reviewed article stated: “. . . We found that patients who were seen by chiropractors during the initial episode of care were less likely to have a surgery, and had a shorter average duration of the initial episode.”  SourceJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, January 2004

Return on investment on wellness programs: Employers can save $1.65 in healthcare expenses for every $1 spent on a comprehensive employee-wellness program. Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark Inc. conducted a study of its own corporate wellness program, which saved $1.3 million during a 4 year period. SourceJournal of Occupations and Environmental Medicine (JOEM)

Chiropractic is more cost effective than Medical care for Workers Compensation cases: The study was a retrospective review of 96,627 closed injury claims in North Carolina between 1975 and 1994. The results showed that the average cost of treatment, hospitalization, and compensation payments were higher for clients treated by Medical Doctors than for clients treated by Doctors of Chiropractic. The results further showed that the average number of lost workdays was less for clients treated by Chiropractors than MDs. SourceJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics September 2004.

Chiropractic inclusion in Managed care plans saves money: A 4 year study conducted by researchers from the company American Specialty Health Plans, Inc. reviewed the health care utilization of 1.7 million people enrolled in a California managed-care plan. Approximately 1 million of the people had chiropractic coverage while the other 700,000 did not. The results showed that the total health care costs for people in the plans with chiropractic coverage were 12% lower than those without chiropractic coverage. The cost of treating people with low back pain was 28% lower in the group with chiropractic coverage.  Chiropractic care reduced hospitalizations among back pain clients by 41% and reduced back surgeries by 32% and reduced the cost of medical imaging by 37%.  Source: Research Agenda Conference March 2003, published American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine October 2004.


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