Chiropractic care

Evidence-based treatment options for the best care at the lowest cost

When your back hurts, you just want it to stop. People suffering from musculoskeletal pain often seek extensive and costly treatment options with disappointing outcomes. The pain may be unresolved, which is bad enough. But employers also feel the pinch of high claims costs and extended periods of lost productivity. That’s why Optum developed a comprehensive chiropractic care program. We focus on educating employees about their best treatment options, including conservative chiropractic care.

Musculoskeletal conditions, including neck and back pain, make up the largest portion of medical expenses for employer health plans.1 Spine care for neck and back pain accounts for 40% of estimated annual total orthopedic costs in the United States,1 adding up to $849 billion.2 Our analysis shows that more than 75% of spine care expense is associated with surgery, imaging, prescriptions, injections, evaluations and emergency room visits.1 Evidence suggests, however, that many of these costly treatments could be avoided with a conservative approach of over-the-counter medication, manipulation and exercise.3

2:1 ROI and 45%–55% average discount

Working with Optum to provide chiropractic coverage to your employees helps you ease associated expenses. Our focus on quality and consistency ensures employees have access to the best providers who are following industry standards. Our program has a proven long-term impact with a typical return on investment of more than 2:1.4

Typically, employers realize a 45% to 55% average contractual discount.5 We work with employers to evaluate total musculoskeletal expenses, identify opportunities for cost savings and develop customized solutions to reduce expenses for musculoskeletal conditions. We can relieve the administrative burden and take on the compliance challenges, allowing your company to focus on your business. Our guidance and support empowers employees to take control of their treatment and ultimately improves their outcomes.

29,000 high-performing providers nationwide

Treatment costs and protocols for similar ailments can vary widely between chiropractors. And that drives up costs. That’s why offering access to high-performing providers is a top priority for Optum. Our expertise in identifying and developing a broad nationwide network supports access to chiropractors, as well as rehabilitative therapists and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners. Our current chiropractic program has:

  • More than 29,000 network providers with National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) credentials
  • A tiered network of high-performing providers
  • Narrow network options to support specific client needs and emerging business models
  • A provider portal with access to evidence-informed treatment resources and guidelines

To ensure provider quality and consistency, we focus on outreach and communication. Our team of 50 in-house and 70+ external clinicians is available to advise providers of effective, cost-sensitive solutions. We also share best practices. We carefully analyze our claims data to determine where and when to contact providers to deliver the most up-to-date clinical support and guidance. This helps improve quality and reduce variability in treatment.

Educating and empowering your employees

We focus on educating employees about their best treatment options, including conservative chiropractic care. We provide self-service tools, such as our provider locator and back pain assessment tool, and employees can consult with NurseLine nurses about their benefits and treatment strategies.


Self-service tools for employees

Optum empowers your employees to take control of their health and treatment options with easy-to-use online tools and resources, including our:

  • Provider locator. Helps employees make informed choices when searching for physical, occupational and speech therapists.
  • Back pain assessment tool. Helps employees learn self-care options and conservative care strategies, when appropriate.

Conservative care includes chiropractic, physical and occupational therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy and more.

1. Elton D. The distribution and analysis of annualized claims data for more than 3.7 million commercial health plan members. Data retrieved from the UnitedHealthcare national commercial claims database, July 1, 2013−June 30, 2014. November 10, 2014.
2. American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons. The burden of musculoskeletal diseases in the United States. Rosemount, IL: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; 2008.
3. Kosloff TM, Elton D, Shulman SA, Clarke JL, Skoufalos A, Solis A. Conservative spine care: opportunities to improve the quality and value of care. Population Health Management 2013;16:390–396.
4. Feldman V, Return on investment analysis of Optum offerings — assumes Network/UM/Claims services; Optum Book of Business Analytics 2013. Analysis as of 12/8/2014.
5. McNally B. Comparison between Optum offering and non-Optum comparable offerings. Data reflects range of discounts across all Physical Health network facilities. Data as of 10/01/13. 
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