Massage Carears Coming to an end!!

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Comments (39)

Ulrich in Amsterdam, Netherlands

68 months ago

Who's belly acheing? You complain about insurance reimbursement going away but don't have any suggestions about what to do about it. You don't like it when everyone else says they'll be ok without insurance because you don't want to change with the times yourself. Maybe your business is 80% insurance but mine's the opposite. Maybe you should get more cash clients and quit your own belly acheing. What are you doing to stop socialized health insurance from taking over besides belly acheing about it?

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THX 1138 in Washington, District of Columbia

68 months ago

"Yes Insurance re-imbursement comes with hassles but it also increase the number of people who will utilize alternative health care. It is much needed care, and as health care provider didn't you really get in the business to help people not get rich?

If you really care about the people then you will stop your belly acheing and try to make sure that everyone has the ability to get any and all care they deserve."

I do not share your concern. I do not believe massage is either much needed or deserved. I agree it is important but not life saving, so it is optional care. Clients who want it will pay for it. Insurance doesn't cover massage in all states, so most of us are not as dependent on insurance payments as you. I think it's covered in Florida and Washington more than elsewhere. I do not accept any insurance and still manage to care about my people as much as you. You should try it!

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

68 months ago

Insurance reimbursement won't go away. Where did you get your information from exactly? The new health care plan being created is optional. If people have a plan that is currently working for them they can keep it.

Instead of letting the insurance companies advertize for you, you could make just the same by putting the time you spend in dealing with insurance companies into educating the public.

I had a totally cash practice for 12 years before insurance created a mess for me. At first they paid quite well but I am sure you know what they pay now and it is harder to get paid and benefits keep getting decreased. After another 9 years of having a half cash/half insurance I am getting out of insurance and have once again more cash clients.

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cedarrivermedicalmassage in Kent, Washington

68 months ago

I am making people aware. Any fedral insurance plan will not cover massage therapy or other alternative care. Why because all 50 states don't have licensure laws for alternative care. And I'm sorry you think people will be able to keep their insurance plan. Get real do you really think any company will continue to offer somthing that goverment is allready offering when it cost them tons of money to offer it. I advise that you write your congress and senate represenitives. This is being forced on america and forced to quickly. I make more money from my cash business but I also understand that 80% of the money comes from insurance re-imbursement. I have many friends in other states who are accepting insurance money and their worried too!! My old people won't be able to come in!!
Get real most people can't afford massage or other alternative care and if it goes away then many people will not be able to get the care only care that takes away their pain.
You can look me up at CedarRiverMedicalMassage.com

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

68 months ago

Portability is actually being worked on in the massage profession hopefully will soon be here. I think they will offer it because people won't want the other because it will be much less care.

On the other hand -what would be wrong with everyone having insurance in the US. A friend of mine became a Canadian a few years ago and said she was quite relieved to know she didn't have to ever worry about it again.

There are a lot of people who can afford to pay cash. If massage therapists made enough they could set up free or low cost clinics for low income people. There are many ways. You just have to get creative.

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cedarrivermedicalmassage in Kent, Washington

68 months ago

Free or low cost clinics - Get real Massage therapist already poor out their heart and soul. They allready make less than most electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, and other trades. They beat up their bodies in the process. Most of them already offer free services to a few people they meet that can't afford the treatment but truyly need help. At full costs most of them have to subsidize their business with another job. Get real it won't happen. My business does just find and insurance is a large part of the business but It would survive just fine with out the insurance money but it would suffer for a few years while the shake up happens and 80% of therapist go out of business. Try getting a massage apointment then. I accept insurance not for the money but for the ability to help people who need it but can't afford it. I get paid better by people with cash. Get paid quicker and don't have to hassle with the paper work when doing cash work but I do insurance anyway. Why because it meets a need. You can visit my website at CedarRiverMedicalMassage.com

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Kimira in Oxford, Ohio

68 months ago

Okay all of the 'get real's are starting to get old, and is not a very proffesional way to address people whom your trying to inform of your concerns.
I've worked in a hospital for over a decade before I got into the business of massage and let me tell you, I want nothing to do with insurance companies. You end up having to charge your clients *more* to get your monies worth after the insurance company takes their cut (they're getting paid by the client *and* you). If you charge less than the insurance rate to your cash paying customers you put yourself at risk of being prosecuted for insurance fraud. Not to mention the lovely wait you have for the insurance company to send your check.
And I'm scratching my head over the comment about people who need massage but can't afford it. Yet these people can afford insurance?
I am cash only and will be staying that way. I give out reciepts to the people seeking reimbursement from the insurance companies but I will not deal with the companies personally. I'm intimately familiar with the inner workings of the business of insurance and want it no where near my practice.

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George Borg in Warren, Michigan

68 months ago

I've never had to deal with insurance companies, and personally don't want to. Why should I share my income with them when they don't do anything for me? Maybe if all states were equal on payments (either insured or not), people might realize the true value of massage.

I would rather see everyone get medical insurance rather than hold it back because some massage in certain areas is no longer covered by insurance. If its that big a deal, contact your representatives in Washington DC

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Natalie McIntosh in Middletown, Ohio

67 months ago

It must be different from state to state, in Ohio pretty much the only "insurance" an LMT can bill out to is Workers Comp. I've called every Aetna, Anthem, UHC, Cigna, MMOH plan under the sun and not one of them will contract with an LMT in this state.

Here LMT's work for MD's, DC's (etc) perform the massage, as region specific per the doctors instructions and the massage bills under the doctor, not the LMT. The LMT's are just another tool in the office.

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WhyMassageTherapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

As your neighbor up North, I would like to say that even though we have universal health care in Canada, it does not cover paramedical services such as massage therapy. People who want massage therapy either pay out of pocket, or have private insurance that covers paramedical services, of which massage therapy is one of many. It honestly doesn't seem to be much of an issue, and the industry here is booming.

I would like to point out, though, that a small group of businesses is making it difficult for everyone by engaging in fraudulent billing practices. Unfortunately, it is mostly the spas (who direct bill BlueCross insurance for a hot stone treatment, but they call it "therapeutic" massage) or the massage therapy membership based franchises (who seem to think it's OK to bill insurance for no shows) that are the culprits. (I have written about this on my blog www.whymassagetherapy.com/blog)

I don't even want to get into how the membership-based franchises are hurting the industry by undercutting the fees and devaluing our services ...

I actually feel that if we are fortunate enough to have our services covered under paramedical insurance, then perhaps only therapists who work in medical-based clinics should be allowed to have their services covered by insurance.

And I do agree that dealing with insurance is difficult at best. Unless I work for a clinic that assumes responsibilities for accounts receivable, I ask for cash or cheque. That keeps my costs down so that I don't have to transfer it to my clients. And that keeps everyone happy.

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Limey in Maidenhead, United Kingdom

67 months ago

thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington said: There are a lot of people who can afford to pay cash. If massage therapists made enough they could set up free or low cost clinics for low income people. There are many ways. You just have to get creative.

You really think low cost or free clinics are a good idea? So after a hard day's work I should work more, and take money out of my pocket to do it. How exactly does it promote the idea that massage is worth paying for? How does that help me not overwork myself? No offense but that's a terrible idea which is probably why no one does it. It's the same situation in the UK as Canada - national health ins doesn't pay and massage therapists still have plenty of jobs. That's the real situation so don't panic over it happening in the US.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

67 months ago

Actually they are already being started...
Just because it is free to the client does not mean you won't get paid just like at low cost medical clinics. They are funded by donations and it takes making money to be able to donate. If you made more than enough in your regular practice working a few extra hours would not be a hardship if it was on a volunteer basis

althealnet.org/

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WhyMassageTherapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

We have a Saturday free clinic once a month here in Halifax, and you have to provide proof of your status as a student or low income to qualify - and then you are limited to the number of times that you can use the services (massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathic Doctor). The donations are to pay for the rent and utilities - no one who works on the desk or provides the therapy is paid, it's all volunteer.

There are many volunteer opportunities for massage therapists if you feel you have the mental and physical energy to participate - I have enjoyed volunteering at sporting events for charities, but that's the extent of giving up my services for free. It's very individual, and I prefer to give of my time and skills in other ways. It keeps work and extracurricular activities very separate, and for me that boundary works and is healthy.

However, each to his own, though I don't believe that clinics that offer "free" massage therapy should be the norm.

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Good Hands in Placentia, California

67 months ago

thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington said: Actually they are already being started...
Just because it is free to the client does not mean you won't get paid just like at low cost medical clinics. They are funded by donations and it takes making money to be able to donate. If you made more than enough in your regular practice working a few extra hours would not be a hardship if it was on a volunteer basis

althealnet.org/

Great, you can blog on your experiences volunteering there and the success of the clinic. I agree with WhyMassageTherapy that it should not be the norm.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

67 months ago

did my saying that it is happening also mean that it is going to be or should be the norm - NO. It is a way of providing low cost massage to people without making the massage therapists who give them slaves like at ME. It is a way of giving back to the community. That is all.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

67 months ago

and yes I will blog about it but you could too if you wanted instead of just complaining on and on SM.

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Good Hands in Placentia, California

67 months ago

thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington said: did my saying that it is happening also mean that it is going to be or should be the norm - NO. It is a way of providing low cost massage to people without making the massage therapists who give them slaves like at ME. It is a way of giving back to the community. That is all.

I would rather earn $15 an hour plus tips than work for free. Choosing to earn around $20 an hour by definition cannot be not slavery. Working for free, now that's slavery. I can give back to the community in other ways and respect my body and boundaries at the same time. To each his own.

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thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington

67 months ago

yes if you are only getting 20 an hour then working for free would seem like it is a strain on your body. If you work for $85 an hour and do less massage you would have time and energy to give back. And yes of course you can give back in other ways.

Working for free when it is on a volunteer basis is not slavery. It is called being compassionate.

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WhyMassageTherapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

If volunteering massage therapy services feels like slavery, then you are wise to choose other avenues to serve your community. After treating for 15-25 hours a week, personally, I am done ...can't. do. any. more.

I saw a good cartoon done by a massage therapist in a magazine which stated "The service is $x.00 per hour, but the caring is free". I don't know what it is like in your massage therapy communities, but as a MT and former educator, I've noticed the hardest thing for new therapists to reconcile is that their services are valuable, and just because we charge money for it doesn't mean we don't care about our clients. It's Ok to want to be financially compensated for our passion.

Which is also why I have a problem with businesses that charge between $50 - $85 an hour for massage therapy but only pay the therapist $15-25 - that's devaluing and insulting our profession and education. If I had to pay out of pocket for a doctor, I also wouldn't trust the competency of a "bargain" doctor who is undercutting his colleagues.

It seems that sometimes, depending on the situation, occasionally people who receive the "free" services don't seem to appreciate it very much. It is much easier to deal with someone's sense of entitlement when I am doing xyz than when I am pouring my heart, soul and physical energy into manual therapy.

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Good Hands in Placentia, California

67 months ago

Volunteering massage feels like slavery to me because of the same reason: after 20 massages a week I have nothing left to give. Don't get me wrong - I own a business and would never work for $20 an hour. However, it is not slavery or insulting to the profession if you choose to work for that much. Not everyone's got what it takes to run a business so they rely on the expertise of others to earn a living.

M.E. provides clients, marketing, front desk staff, business cards, uniforms, space, linens, cleaning, oil...everything you need to just massage and leave. Clients pay less at M.E. and get a lesser service. The slightly lower price is appropriate for the lower service quality so it does not undercut the market. I'm not defending M.E., just the motivation and honor of MTs who choose to focus on massage rather than business.

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WhyMassageTherapy in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

I am speaking from my perspective of what is happening in Canada, and I maintain that the franchises are devaluing our profession by charging "bargain prices". As far as needing a job goes, hey, I completely understand and would never slam a therapist for working - after all, we all need to live.

Many clinics offer a full service deal to therapists, and charge the standard going rate. They also pay their therapists 50% of an $80 fee - that's very fair compensation. I think what we're going to see in Canada is the franchises and their therapists getting slammed for things like insurance fraud, professional misconduct (for not following the standards of practice), and getting sued for hurting people.

There seems to be some confusion as to the risks involved concerning massage therapy, and if one person gets hurt from treatment because the therapist didn't have the correct medical history (which aren't always taken in the franchises and spas), then the whole profession looks bad. The standards of practice we learn in our minimum 2 year program to which we are all supposed to adhere(which is supposedly equivalent to 1st year medical school) dictates that because of this risk of harm, we are ethically and legally required to refuse treatment if a full medical history hasn't been taken.

I have done the numbers, and the argument that the goal of the franchises are to provide the "business development" so therapists can concentrate on therapy is complete b.s. There is no altruism on the part of the franchises. If the available appointments are completely booked every week, one franchise owner I know stands to profit over $250K even if she had an 80% overhead. I'm all for making a profit, but if the profit is based on devaluing a profession, putting clients at harm and then deceiving a public into believing that there is absolutely no risk of harm, then it is unethical.

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WhyMassageTherapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

"If you want to be successful in this profession you must be passionate about giving excellent hands-on care AND be willing to market yourself with pride. There is no other way... It is time to move this profession out of the the anti-money mindset. Healers and their families should be well provided for. Living in poverty is not noble."

Meagan, I completely agree - you said it very succintly where I was probably stumbling.

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Abigail in Denver, Colorado

67 months ago

Sorry Cedar, but I agree with the opposition. Insurance is not good for the massage business as a whole. I feel for you personally since your practice is so dependent on insurance, but overall the massage profession will thrive the less it depends on insurance reimbursement.

I hear what you're saying about billing services. The unfortunate part is that when I audited my billing service, I found it was not working in my best interest. Have you audited yours?

The short story is my service did not collect ~12,500 that it could have for 3 years. Do the math.

Today I fought with USAA who didn't pay because my billing service didn't check "Y" on the "Auto Accident" field. So they didn't know it was an auto claim, despite the fact that USAA is an auto company and the claim included a claim number.

I have faxed the same notes to a lawyer 6 times now for 2 years promising to pay $2,675. I doubt I'll ever recover.

Another un-named health insurance company changed its billing procedure a year ago but didn't inform me about it. I've been billing, re-billing, calling, and re-calling since Feb for about $8,000 of money. They just hang up on me.

In other words, I can't afford to bill insurance any more. I'm with the others. I'm going to cash only!

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WhyMassageTherapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

67 months ago

Hi Abigail,

I completely agree - my first year out of school I billed $6000.00 a month to insurance companies, and I often didn't receive my money for a month or so after I billed. I was always in the hole, and still had to pay my commercial rent plus my own living expenses. I think you are very wise for a cash only business, and if I wasn't currently working for a large clinic that assumed the receivables on my behalf, that's what I'd do.

I hope your receivables aren't a total loss, and that you get some money back. good luck!

Jodi

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Bodyworker in Saint Petersburg, Florida

66 months ago

I work in a spa, and the charge for an hour of our time is 153.40, we make 30% of that basically, around $50.00. In that spa we offer many treatments, and we take an extensive intake sheet, discuss medical issues, and actually have a regular stream of people who suffer from RSD. They have prescriptions from their doctors and can submit for payment to their insurance company, but we do not bill it for them. We do a great job, and the misconception about massages in a spa from fellow therapists, it's a bit disheartening. We all serve in our own ways in our own places.
In this area it is the chiropractors and physical therapists that want to pay you $15.00 per hour.

Bodyworker in Seattle, we are moving there in the Spring, I hope our paths cross, you sound like the kind of person I would like to know up there.

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sunrise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

64 months ago

well many angry therapists here-
having worked in many establishments - the most lucrative was excepting health insurance and working under a dr.s prescription- then having someone handle the billing and everyone making a bit of money - it is steady and hard work - it becomes a regular job - but I have not complained and will stick with my venture -- as far as people paying for health insurance they are usually the ones busting their but and need the therapeutic massages that are covered-the peopel that do not want to sacrifice for health insurance coverage need to get OVER IT.. stop buying coach purses and WORK MORE!!!!!!!
we all have choices inlife - we manifest our own destiny - perception is reality
good luck in 2010

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TSMT in Van Wert, Ohio

57 months ago

I have been a massage therapist for almost 24 years..I have had my own business since 1989. when I started massage therapy I was charging $40-$45.00 and have only upped my price to$50.00 and have had a very lucrative business until NOW..There are new therapists in town that are monopolizing the WHOLE massage therapy world at only $20.00 an hour..I cannot believe that these "NEWBIES" would disrespect their colleagues so much, devalue their OWN profession and completely put all the massage therapists in town out of business...There are four of them working together to do this. PLUS, one of them is an instructor at a nearby massage school..where are the business ethics?

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David S.

55 months ago

I love it.. You are so right. CASH CASH CASH is the way to go. Why fill out the insurance papers and wait weeks for payment when you can fill out a deposit form first the same day? Geez.

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BRITNEYBROWN in Ocala, Florida

55 months ago

HOW CAN I MAKE CASH CASH CASH RIGHT NOW

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BRITNEYBROWN in Ocala, Florida

55 months ago

HOW CAN I MAKE SOME CASH NOW CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW CAN I MAKE SOME CASH.

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David S.

55 months ago

Hi Britney,
I see you live in Ocala, FL. I don't mean this bad, but when I moved from Ocala, FL, I started making money. For some reason, Ocala, FL doesn't offer many ways to make money. I currently live in Atlanta, GA, there are a ton of ways to make money here.

What do you do for a living?

David

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head.up.da.butt in Denver, Colorado

54 months ago

thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington said: Actually they are already being started...
Just because it is free to the client does not mean you won't get paid just like at low cost medical clinics. They are funded by donations and it takes making money to be able to donate. If you made more than enough in your regular practice working a few extra hours would not be a hardship if it was on a volunteer basis

althealnet.org/

HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.........................I almost choked on laughter??????

DID YOU NOT REALIZE THE ECONOMY IS IN THE t o i l e t ? ?

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head.up.da.butt in Denver, Colorado

54 months ago

thebodyworker in Seattle, Washington said: Actually they are already being started...
Just because it is free to the client does not mean you won't get paid just like at low cost medical clinics. They are funded by donations and it takes making money to be able to donate. If you made more than enough in your regular practice working a few extra hours would not be a hardship if it was on a volunteer basis

althealnet.org/

HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.........................I almost choked on laughter??????

DID YOU NOT REALIZE THE ECONOMY IS IN THE t o i l e t ? ?

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thebodyworker in Redmond, Washington

54 months ago

the economy may be having issues but that doesn't mean it has to affect your economy if you understand the rules of money and use yours wisely.

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sunrise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

54 months ago

Kimira in Oxford, Ohio said: Okay all of the 'get real's are starting to get old, and is not a very proffesional way to address people whom your trying to inform of your concerns.
I've worked in a hospital for over a decade before I got into the business of massage and let me tell you, I want nothing to do with insurance companies. You end up having to charge your clients *more* to get your monies worth after the insurance company takes their cut (they're getting paid by the client *and* you). If you charge less than the insurance rate to your cash paying customers you put yourself at risk of being prosecuted for insurance fraud. Not to mention the lovely wait you have for the insurance company to send your check.
And I'm scratching my head over the comment about people who need massage but can't afford it. Yet these people can afford insurance?
I am cash only and will be staying that way. I give out reciepts to the people seeking reimbursement from the insurance companies but I will not deal with the companies personally. I'm intimately familiar with the inner workings of the business of insurance and want it no where near my practice.

your statement " people who need massage but can't afford it. Yet these people can afford insurance?" totally off base- some of us have insurance because we work and pay for it - sometimes the employer pays a partial amount. however that is a choice some of us have. I am a massage thrapist for 10 yrs. the last 8 years have been totally insurance covered. It has allowed me to have a decent income without working like a dog for someone else- I do not do the billing and I work with a physicians order- yes, I wait a few weeks to get paid but I have
had 97% claims paid - I also buy health insurace for me for $4000 a year. yes sounds like alot but thats where I choose to put my money- it is a sense of security and I would rather spend my money buying health insurance than buying designer clothes or eating out

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Dr.INDIRA in Hollywood, Florida

52 months ago

cedarrivermedicalmassage in Kent, Washington said: I am making people aware. Any fedral insurance plan will not cover massage therapy or other alternative care. Why because all 50 states don't have licensure laws for alternative care. And I'm sorry you think people will be able to keep their insurance plan. Get real do you really think any company will continue to offer somthing that goverment is allready offering when it cost them tons of money to offer it. I advise that you write your congress and senate represenitives. This is being forced on america and forced to quickly. I make more money from my cash business but I also understand that 80% of the money comes from insurance re-imbursement. I have many friends in other states who are accepting insurance money and their worried too!! My old people won't be able to come in!!
Get real most people can't afford massage or other alternative care and if it goes away then many people will not be able to get the care only care that takes away their pain.
You can look me up at CedarRiverMedicalMassage.com

please use your spell check.thanu

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R T in Kerrville, Texas

29 months ago

cedarrivermedicalmassage in Kent, Washington said: I am making people aware. Any fedral insurance plan will not cover massage therapy or other alternative care. Why because all 50 states don't have licensure laws for alternative care. And I'm sorry you think people will be able to keep their insurance plan. Get real do you really think any company will continue to offer somthing that goverment is allready offering when it cost them tons of money to offer it. I advise that you write your congress and senate represenitives. This is being forced on america and forced to quickly. I make more money from my cash business but I also understand that 80% of the money comes from insurance re-imbursement. I have many friends in other states who are accepting insurance money and their worried too!! My old people won't be able to come in!!
Get real most people can't afford massage or other alternative care and if it goes away then many people will not be able to get the care only care that takes away their pain.
You can look me up at CedarRiverMedicalMassage.com

Today is Nov. 16th, ten days after Obama took office. I went in for a massage today and was told by my healthcare provider that effective immediately my insurance would no longer cover my massage therapy.

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happy gilmore in Alexandria, Virginia

15 months ago

TSMT in Van Wert, Ohio said: I have been a massage therapist for almost 24 years..I have had my own business since 1989. when I started massage therapy I was charging $40-$45.00 and have only upped my price to$50.00 and have had a very lucrative business until NOW..There are new therapists in town that are monopolizing the WHOLE massage therapy world at only $20.00 an hour..I cannot believe that these "NEWBIES" would disrespect their colleagues so much, devalue their OWN profession and completely put all the massage therapists in town out of business...There are four of them working together to do this. PLUS, one of them is an instructor at a nearby massage school..where are the business ethics?

I doubt they're white. They're either Latino or Asian.
And by the way, it's called Capitalism. You've got to find something people want over your competitors. It's just the law of the land. Get over it.

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Massage Therapy Schools Information in Irving, Texas

13 months ago

The title of this thread cannot be more inaccurate. More insurance companies are starting to accept medical massage as a "treatment" thus more reimbursement opportunities. Not only that the demand for massage therapy is projected to rise 25% plus through 2020. That is more than most industries. The payment part of the profession is a different story. Doctors and Dentists are having to deal with the same issue. That is not a professional issue, that is a private industry issue at another level.

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