UnitedHealthcare bets new back pain benefit will decrease unnecessary tests

UnitedHealthcare rolled out a new benefit aimed at lowering the use of imaging tests, surgeries and opioids for members with acute lower back pain.

The benefit offers improved access to physical therapy and chiropractic care, the health insurance unit of UnitedHealth Group said. Policyholders enrolled in certain employer health plans will pay nothing out of pocket if they choose physical therapy or chiropractic care to treat low back pain. The benefit includes three physical therapy or chiropractic visits to in-network providers, in addition to normal visits under the plan.

Based on an internal analysis, UnitedHealthcare projects the benefit will reduce spinal imaging tests by 22 percent, spinal surgeries by 21 percent and opioid use by 19 percent by 2021.

To read more about the benefit, click here.

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