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 by John Hammell, Political Coordinator, Life Extension Foundation
 Political Office 1534 Polk St. Hollywood, FL 33020 USA, 1-800-333-2553, FAX 954-929-0507
 copyright 1996
 Many Foundation members and customers have been frustrated for
 years by their insurance companies abject unwillingness to
 reimburse for alternative treatments and for dietary supplements
 that have been prescribed by their physicians, but the winds of
 change are beginning to blow in America and we must all continue to
 push hard for passage of The Access to Medical Treatment Act as the
 insurance industry FINALLY climbs aboard our bandwagon!
 American Western Life, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Preventive Medical
 Research Institute: (payor support by Mutual of Omaha Nationwide,
 Humana Health Plans of South Florida, Blue Shield of CA, Blue Cross
 of CA, Blue-Cross, Blue Shield of CA, BCBS of Iowa, BCBS of South
 Carolina,Provident Healthcare, Mass Mutual, Share United
 Healthcare, Heritage (John Deere), Oxford Health Plan, Companion
 Healthcare, Central Stated Health and Life of Omaha), and
 Alternative Health Group are among the growing number of insurance
 companies that now finally recognize the simple fact that "an ounce
 of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
 This concept has been well understood in China for centuries, and
 we're finally beginning to implement it here in the United States,
 hopefully fast enough to stave off total economic ruin. The
 companies we're reporting on here are pioneers within the insurance
 industry, and LEF salutes their fine example.
 A recent survey in the New England Journal of Medicine found that
 in 1990, more than one third of Americans sought treatment outside
 mainstream allopathic circles, through practitioners such as those
 we've been recommending to our members since we were founded
 sixteen years ago.  
 LEF members and others who take an active interest in their health
 management finally have some lower cost insurance options to reward
 their commitment! 
 Passage of health freedom legislation has helped create the climate
 where insurors could make these programs available, and we urge
 members to continue pushing hard to pass the Access to Medical
 Treatment Act, the Food and Dietary Consumer Information Act, as
 well as similar legislation at the state level.
 The oldest and most comprehensive health plan covering alternative
 therapies and dietary supplements was started in 1993 by American
 Western Life and is currently available to people in California,
 Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. As we go to press they are
 expanding into Oregon. AWL has screened and selected over 1000
 alternative practitioners so far who practice everything from
 arromatherapy and reflexology to hypnosis and naturopathy. 
 The Wellness Plan includes integrated, holistic health disciplines
 such as acupuncture, biofeedback, body work and massage therapy,
 yoga therapists, chiropractic, nutritional consultants,
 naturopathy, homeopathy, and Ayurvedic medicine as part of its
 medical coverage along with standard or allopathic treatment. AWL
 clients also have access to over 650 hospitals and 41,000 doctors.
 The Wellness Plan requires that the consumer become actively
 involved in managing their health. Participants learn how to become
 responsible for preventing disease and treating minor ailments
 through a comprehensive set of educational materials and