In Oregon acupuncture is considered an essential health benefit. That means the state has required that every insurance plan cover at least 12 visits per year. This was first instituted in 2021 and is an amazing support in helping people address chronic pain and the opioid crisis, which continues to ravage Oregon and beyond. 

However, in practice getting care can still be more challenging than it should be. Companies like Kaiser pay poorly for services, which means that fewer and fewer providers are willing to take those plans, leaving members with limited options for care. Other companies require prior authorization as an obstacle to care. And still others have high copays for certain plans, especially those bought by individuals on the  health insurance marketplace, making it expensive to get regular care. With these hurdles, care is not as readily accessible as it should be. 

Even if an insurance plan does not make it difficult to get care, 12 visits per year is not a lot. A standard treatment plan for an acute problem or a chronic problem that is currently flaring, is weekly care for 12 weeks. That is 3 months of consistent care, after which we have to pay out-of-pocket. If we want to stretch our benefits over the course of the year we can only get treatment monthly, which is better for maintaining health, rather than working on an active issue. 

At Zócalo Wellness we work to make care more accessible in multiple ways. First, we offer many services a la carte. Acupuncture, bodywork and personalized herbal remedies are all included in our private, one-on-one sessions covered by insurance. We also offer these modalities separately and at a discount so that patients can access the care they need in a way that is more flexible for a variety of budgets. 

This way care is easier to access all year round. Depending on what you are working on you may want to sign up for a community acupuncture or bodywork-only session between insurance-billed appointments. Or, you may want to use insurance coverage to address a specific problem, and when coverage runs out, use the more affordable, a la carte appointments as health maintenance. 

Offering affordable, out-of-pocket care also addresses an inherent flaw of insurance, which is that we need to have a problem to justify care. Insurance never pays for wellness or maintenance care. We are always trying to fit the holistic nature of traditional East Asian medicine into the confines of this rigid, pathology-based system. By having options that bypass this system we free ourselves to address the whole person without any boxes or labels. 

Current a la carte offerings at Zócalo Wellness are:

  • Community Acupuncture (one-on-one acupuncture-only sessions in a group setting) with lara
  • 30-minute Bodywork sessions (cupping, Chinese Tuina massage) with James
  • Herbal consults (herbs are purchased separately) with James

Read more about our offerings on our Services page. Call or text us directly for rates.