Say Thank You to Highmark

     As one of my dearest friends always says, “why can’t we all just get along?” With that in mind, why can’t we all just thank Highmark?

     Highmark, through its recent actions on numerous fronts, is begging us to realize what they are; a money making venture. You may have thought that they were some noble business whose responsibility was to oversee your health. If you thought that, you are badly mistaken. Fortunately, not all is lost in Highmark’s recent actions. We must look for a silver lining.

     As Highmark and UPMC’s battle for profits and turf have become headline news, their true mission, profits, come to the forefront. There is nothing wrong with a business making profits. Aren’t we conditioned by now in western Pa to a business putting profits ahead of all else? Think Robert Nutting and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are the biggest losers in the history of professional sports. Realize they are a huge winner as a business. Highmark is also a huge winner in business with over $4 billion in ever growing reserves.

     Now Highmark is limiting chiropractic (and physical therapists) coverage to 8 visits for many of their subscribers. Shame on chiropractors for making Highmark and its subscribers think that chiropractic adjustments were a treatment for pain and nothing else.

     Chiropractic adjustments (Highmark uses the term “manipulation.” Anyone knows the term has a negative connotation. No one I know wants to feel manipulated.) have always been about adjusting your nervous system by improving spinal health. Improve the spine and you improve your quality of life including living with less pain. Let’s stop thinking that we must live a pain free life. It is not a reality. Seeking a pain free life will result in misery and failure. Many of the painful experiences of our lives, being either mental, emotional or physical, have taught us numerous gifts that we were able to proceed forward and grow as a human being.

     True, a healthy back and nervous system are fundamental to a great life. As a friend and longtime Steeler told me years ago, “when the back goes, you are forced to retire.” We do not want your back “gone” so that you have to retire from the activities that you love.

     Highmark has given chiropractors the opportunity or challenge to explain to patients the true benefits of chiropractic care. Those benefits are beyond the scope of Highmark’s wellness venture. If you think that Highmark is into wellness, read the following paragraph about a young girl’s reaction to the hepatitis vaccine. A friend of mine was hired to be a part of Highmark’s wellness team. She didn’t find much wellness in the program, though she did discover a brilliant marketing program to increase profits.

     I recall a woman whose “health” insurance was about to run out. She had her teenage daughter receive the covered “wellness” hepatitis vaccine that the health insurer was touting. Her young daughter had a reaction that damaged her liver and incapacitated her for almost one year. As she ages, the long term consequences of that “wellness” experience are yet to be revealed. Just another reminder that your health insurance is not about health.

     A wise, beyond his years, financial guru sat down with Highmark to hear their sales pitch as to why his organization should spend tens of millions of dollars on a contract with Highmark. He was told how Highmark has wellness programs in place that are saving Highmark millions of dollars making Highmark a more efficient company as their subscribers get healthier. Then ironically he was told premium costs needed to be raised. Hmm? Something smells like a rotting fish.

     Let’s conclude with thanking Highmark for getting their objectives, which are big profits, out in the open. We need to let go of the mistaken belief that our health insurance company is  responsible for our health.  It isn’t and it never was.         The solution is in you.  Remember the three rules of real estate, “location, location, location.” The three rules of health are “it’s in you, it’s in you, it’s in you.”  This is the beauty of chiropractic.  We help unleash the beauty that is already within you.  You have got a beautiful gift within that is waiting to be unwrapped.  What are you waiting for?  Thank Highmark for asking us to realize this fact.