Alternative Treatment Methods: Acupuncture, Osteopathy, and Homeopathy (2023)

In recent years, alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture, osteopathy, and homeopathy have been gaining popularity among individuals seeking natural and holistic approaches to healthcare. According to a survey conducted by Statista and YouGov, approximately 46% of Germans have tried a natural healing method to treat their illnesses This growing interest in alternative treatments has not gone unnoticed by health insurance providers. While health insurance companies generally cover the costs of conventional medical treatments, coverage for alternative therapies, including those provided by naturopaths, varies depending on the insurance type.

Coverage for Alternative Treatments by Health Insurance Providers

  1. Private Health Insurance (PKV): Private health insurance companies tend to be more open to covering the costs of alternative treatments compared to statutory health insurance providers. However, it is important to note that coverage for naturopathic treatments is not a standard benefit in all private health insurance policies. To determine if your policy covers the costs of treatments provided by naturopaths, it is essential to review your insurance plan and consult with your insurance provider .

  2. Statutory Health Insurance (GKV): Statutory health insurance providers typically work with contracted physicians and healthcare professionals. As naturopaths operate as independent practitioners, they are not considered part of the contracted network. Consequently, statutory health insurance providers do not cover the costs of treatments provided by naturopaths.

While statutory health insurance providers may not cover the costs of naturopathic treatments, they may support medically prescribed alternative therapies and medications. In such cases, the prescribing physician or therapist must possess recognized qualifications.

It is important to note that the coverage and reimbursement policies for naturopathic treatments can vary between insurance providers. Therefore, it is advisable to contact your insurance company directly to inquire about the specific coverage and reimbursement options available to you.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Naturopathic Treatments

The cost of naturopathic treatments can vary depending on several factors, including the therapy method, duration of treatment, and frequency of sessions. As naturopaths are considered independent practitioners, they have the flexibility to set their own prices for their services. While there is no standardized fee structure for naturopathic treatments, practitioners often refer to the Gebührenordnung für Heilpraktiker (Fee Schedule for Naturopaths) as a guideline .

The Gebührenordnung für Heilpraktiker provides average prices and price ranges for various naturopathic services. Here are a few examples:

  • Blood sugar determination: Up to 8 euros
  • Blood sampling: Up to 3.60 euros
  • Acupuncture, including pulse diagnosis: 10.30 to 26 euros
  • Osteopathic treatment of shoulder joints: 15.40 to 26 euros

It is important to note that the Gebührenordnung für Heilpraktiker is not legally binding but serves as a reference for both naturopaths and insurance providers. Insurance companies may consider the listed services as recognized and eligible for reimbursement .

Tax Deductibility of Naturopathic Treatment Costs

The costs incurred for naturopathic treatments can be claimed as extraordinary expenses in your tax return. To be eligible for tax deduction, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The naturopath must be officially licensed.
  2. The treatment and prescribed remedies must be medically necessary and specifically prescribed by the naturopath.

In cases where the therapy is not scientifically recognized, a medical opinion from a public health officer or a certificate from the Medical Service of the Health Insurance Funds confirming the necessity of the treatment is required. Since a ruling by the Rhineland-Palatinate Finance Court on July 4, 2018, a brief statement from a public health officer is also accepted as an alternative to a detailed medical opinion.

Please note that only expenses related to the treatment of an illness or its consequences can be claimed as extraordinary expenses in your tax return. Preventive measures are generally not accepted by tax authorities.

Types of Naturopathic Treatment Methods

Naturopathic treatments encompass a wide range of alternative healing methods. The following are some examples of commonly practiced naturopathic treatment methods:

  1. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a treatment method derived from traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific areas of the body to stimulate healing and restore balance.

  2. Neural Therapy: Neural therapy is a treatment that involves the injection of local anesthetics to alleviate tension or inflammation in the body.

  3. Bioresonance Therapy: Bioresonance therapy is based on the concept of using the body's own vibrations to treat various ailments. It is used to address a wide range of health issues.

  4. Autologous Blood Therapy: Autologous blood therapy involves the withdrawal and reinfusion of a small amount of blood to stimulate the body's self-healing mechanisms.

  5. Homeopathy: Homeopathy is an alternative treatment method that operates on the principle of "like cures like." It involves the administration of highly diluted substances in the form of tiny globules.

  6. Osteopathy: Osteopathy is a form of manual medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating health conditions through hands-on techniques.

Is a Supplementary Insurance for Naturopathic Treatments Worth It?

If you are covered by private health insurance, it is important to review your policy to determine if it includes coverage for naturopathic treatments. In such cases, there may be no need for a supplementary insurance policy specifically for naturopathic treatments.

For individuals covered by statutory health insurance, a supplementary insurance policy for naturopathic treatments may be worth considering if you regularly seek alternative therapies and anticipate multiple appointments throughout the year. These supplementary insurance policies can complement the coverage provided by statutory health insurance and help offset the costs of naturopathic treatments.

It is worth noting that the cost of a supplementary insurance policy for naturopathic treatments is generally affordable, with average monthly premiums of less than ten euros. When comparing insurance offers, it is important to consider not only the price but also the coverage and maximum reimbursement limits.


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