Healthcare, GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS
ProPublica: What Happens When a Health Plan Has No Limits? An Acupuncturist Earns $677 a Session.
by Marshall Allen
Judging by the marketing, it would seem that the teachers of New Jersey have collectively thrown out their backs, pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve while engaged in rigorous educating.
Last fall, when teachers at about a dozen New Jersey schools returned from break, employees from Thompson Healthcare & Sports Medicine welcomed them with bagels and orange juice. The clinic’s owner also created an empathetic YouTube video titled “We Understand Painful Conditions Suffered By Teachers.”
NJ Spine and Wellness offered catered lunches, chairside massages and prizes at “Teacher Wellness Days.” “Want us to come to your school?” the chiropractic business asks educators in an online ad.
Other acupuncturists, chiropractors and physical therapists have donated cash, supplies and even wheelchairs to local schools and districts. On social media, some dangle the promise of a stress-relieving rubdown. “Contact our office about medical massage included as part of our chiropractic services,” says one post.
But this competitive wooing is not fueled by a dawning recognition of the back pain associated with teaching algebra. Unbeknownst to most of the 158,000 active and retired New Jersey school employees covered by the state’s School Employees’ Health Benefits Program — about a third of the state’s districts — their benefit plan has a lucrative carveout for out-of-network providers.
And it’s a big one: The teachers’ plan will cover virtually anything they charge.
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