Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
- Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.
- Naturopathic physicians treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. NDs can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents.
(source: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians)
What training do Naturopathic Doctors receive?
- Completion of a four-year undergraduate program, followed by four years at one of the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools.
- A naturopathic medical education encompasses basic medical sciences, clinical medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, and 1500+ hours of supervised clinical experience. Click here to learn more about our training.
- Similar to MD’s and DO’s, ND’s must pass part one of a rigorous board examination known as NPLEX after the completion of second year and pass part two after graduation. NPLEX tests both knowledge of medical sciences as well as clinical skills. Passing both parts leads to licensure as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
What can I expect on my first visit to a Naturopathic Clinic?
- During your first appointment, the doctor will learn about your health history, find out about your diet, stress levels, use of tobacco and alcohol, and discuss why you’re there. He or she may perform an examination and order diagnostic tests. Naturopathic physicians keep themselves up-to-date on the latest scientific research and incorporate this evidence into their treatments. The naturopathic physician will work with you to set up a customized health management strategy. If necessary, he or she will refer you to other health-care practitioners.
- The first visit may last one to two hours and follow-up visits range from 30 to 60 minutes, although this varies depending on the ND. Naturopathic physicians need sufficient time to ask questions and understand the patient’s health goals. NDs also need time to gather information, do an appropriate examination and teach his or her patients about managing their condition and improving their health. Besides taking the time to carefully and fully assess a patient’s root problem, NDs speak and understand the language of conventional medicine. They can diagnose the way MDs do—yet, they bring to the patient a whole new arsenal of treatments and insights. Instead of waiting for a disease to emerge, NDs work to head it off before it happens.
(source: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians)
What is Acupuncture?
- Acupuncture is the medical application of thin needles into specific points, or meridians, of the body, directly affecting the body's electrical system.
How does Acupuncture Work?
- The way acupuncture works is found in the process of nitric oxide (NO) dilating blood vessels and effecting piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity is created by pressure on bone and collagen, which creates a fixed charge. When fluid is moved along with varying electrical charges, it creates streaming potentials which aids in tissue healing and regulation at the cellular level as well as having beneficial effects on the immune system.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
- There are hundreds of points on the body. Some of them are more sensitive than others. One common characteristic of points which require needling is they tend to be more tender than other points in the body. The sensation is more of a pressure sensation and sometimes electric in nature. Most of the pain receptors are in the skin. The needle goes through the skin within a millisecond and then to pressure receptors which are more dominant. Sometimes sensations of heat or coolness are associated with needling sensation. The perception of pain is very relative. In Chinese hospitals patients often request more stimulation while in North American clinics they may want little to none.
How many sessions will I need? How do I tell if it's working?
- It is important to note that the faster and stronger the needling sensation occurs, the greater effect it will have on the body. People who desire less sensation may require more visits to obtain the same results. Acupuncture is a complementary therapy to internal herbal medicine. It works symbiotically with the herbs in the bloodstreams. Acupuncture is one of many traditional Chinese Medicine therapies, which include massage, qi gong exercises, herbal baths, music therapy, fumigation, etc. It is traditionally used with burned herbs called moxibustion. The best way to tell if you are having good acupuncture is that it works and you don't have to keep going back to the clinic. 10 visits should be the maximum number of visits. Beyond this and you should be referred to someone else. If you are not seriously improving from herbal therapy (as measured by bloodwork) within 100 days, the same rule applies. Patients who visit us typically see relief within the first few sessions and then learn to take care of themselves for lasting maintenance.
Do you accept insurance?
- No. Good News Naturopathic Clinic is considered an Out of Network provider and, as such, does not contract with insurance companies. Please confirm with your insurance company that you have Out of Network benefits.
- At the end of the evaluation, upon request, we will provide you with a "Superbill" containing the applicable diagnosis and billing code, which can then be submitted to insurance companies for possible reimbursement. Although under many PPO plans, out-of-network services are paid at 60-80% rate, we strongly urge you to check with your insurance company to find out the coverage prior to your office visit.
- Good News Naturopathic Clinic does not guarantee payment from insurance companies.
What is a superbill?
- A superbill is an appropriately coded bill produced by your doctor based on the type of visit you received and the reason for your visit. A superbill is coded for insurance purposes and is different from an invoice or receipt. If you have a PPO plan, you can submit a superbill to your insurance company for services received from your Naturopathic doctor and receive reimbursement for a portion of the fees you paid to your doctor's office. Ask your ND if they can provide you with a superbill at the end of each visit. Call your insurance company to find out exactly how they would like a superbill submitted – generally, sending a copy of your insurance card along with the printed superbill to the mailing address on the back of your insurance card is all you need to do. If your insurance company recognizes your Naturopathic doctor’s out-of-network services, they will reimburse you the costs (or a portion of the costs) of your visit. (Source: calnd.org)
Is it possible that my insurance company doesn't cover Naturopathic medicine at all?
- Yes. It is very possible that some insurance companies will deny your claim or only give very minimum coverage. Even though under the new Affordable Care Act, the insurance company (especially PPO plans) may not discriminate board-certified and licensed Naturopathic doctors practicing within the licensed state, there are still some insurance companies that are not up-to-date with their policies. So please make sure to ask your individual insurance agents about coverage to Good News Naturopathic Clinic prior to your visit.
Will my lab tests be covered by insurance?
- Routine conventional labs can be done through your insurances. Although insurance coverage is likely, but it is not a guarantee (this is true for MD services as well).
- Functional lab testing is often not covered by your insurance, but we encourage you to submit a reimbursement claim for any tests done; it is always best to pay at the time of service for functional lab test kits to assure a much lower prepay rate; if submitted through insurance and subsequently unable to be covered, the lab may bill you at the higher insurance rate.
- For those labs that don't bill insurance, we will provide you a superbill with CPT codes upon request. Please note that we cannot guarantee payment or reimbursement by your carrier as every insurance plan is different.
Will my supplements be covered?
- FSA, HSA, and other HRA accounts may pay for vitamins or other supplements prescribed by us; a letter of medical necessity is often required for reimbursement. We can help you getting the right information for these plans.
How can I make the best use of my insurance coverage?
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans allow you to choose your doctor and hospital from the PPO network or out-of-network providers like us.
- A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a medical savings account, which allows patients to save money in a tax-free account, and naturopathic services are often covered with HSAs. We encourage patients to use HSAs for lab tests as well as natural neutraceuticals prescribed by naturopathic doctors.
- A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a benefit provided by some employers. This is another great way to add a flexibility to your health management options. You can use the FSAs for our service and all related lab tests and supplements that we prescribe.
- Other Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) are employer funded health benefit plans that can be used for reimbursement of out of pocket medical expenses and individual health insurance premiums. They can be used to pay medical expenses just like an FSA account.
- Some people opt for high-deductible health plans just to cover for something catastrophic. In this choice, you may pay a lower monthly premium, freeing up your monthly healthcare budget for out-of-pocket expenses such as Naturopathic doctor visits, lab tests and supplements (similar to Health Savings Account). You can submit superbills and lab bills you receive from naturopathic doctor to your insurance company, which may start counting those expenses toward your deductible cap. If something catastrophic does happen and you haven’t reached your cap, you will have to pay out of pocket until your insurance kicks in. You should first make sure you are comfortable with the out-of-pocket costs should something catastrophic happen. (Source: calnd.org)
How do I find out what my insurance company will reimburse for an out-of-network provider?
- Make sure to call your insurance company and ask about the out-of-network coverage for Naturopathic doctors. However, many insurance companies’ customer service representatives have never heard of Naturopathic doctors, or do not know what we are licensed to do in this state. If they ask what a Naturopathic doctor is, you can tell them, “Naturopathic doctors are licensed specialists in the state of Connecticut.”
- It never hurts to submit your superbill to your insurance company. We are finding that many companies will reimburse a portion of your out of pocket costs.
What to expect in the first two visits
- Your first appointment will last approximately 60 - 90 minutes. Please fill out the intake forms and submit them to us prior to your first appointment. They are available for download or print. We are happy to mail, fax, or email patient forms to you as well. This policy helps maximize your appointment time and gives Dr. Ahn sufficient time to go over your case for a more efficient and fruitful meeting.
- Bring in any medications and supplements that you are currently taking. We will discuss your health concerns, perform any pertinent physical exams, determine if any lab/imaging work needs to be completed or requested and discuss following options.
- Your second visit will be approximately 45-60 minutes and should be scheduled between two to six weeks from the first visit. We will review all labs and/or imaging that were performed during the time in between. We will also present you with a full treatment plan, created unique to your body and needs.
What to expect in the follow-up visits
- All follow up appointments will range from 30 - 45 minutes, depending on complexity. These are necessary to ensure your health is improving and make adjustments to your plan. If you are coming from long distance, occasional tele-conferencing can be arranged to minimize traveling time.
Is there a cancellation policy?
- Due to our extended visit times with our patients, we kindly ask that you read and honor our cancellation policy.
- For any cancellation or rescheduling of the appointment, kindly give us at least 48 hours notice.
- Any cancellation or rescheduling with less than 24 hour notice will incur a $75 cancellation fee.
- Any missed appointments without prior notice will be charged 50% of your office visit..
- As a courtesy to all of our patients we like to be considerate of their time. Appointment length will not be extended due to late arrival.
What is the payment policy?
- All patients are responsible for the total charges and/or copayment incurred from each visit to our office. Charges are to be paid at the time of each visit. Please not that any laboratory fees or prescribed supplements are not included in the appointment fee. Payments can be made by Cash, Check or Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express Card.
Do you offer any payment plans?
- Unfortunately, we are not able to offer payment plan options. Since the big part of the payment you make go towards the testing fees, which we must pay to the labs when you submit your test samples, we are unable to offer any payment plan option at this time.
Do I still need to see my regular MD doctor if I see you?
- Yes. In the state of Connecticut, Naturopathic doctors are categorized as specialists. Regularly consulting with your primary physician is important especially if you are on prescription medications or have active conditions under your PCP's care. Dr. Ahn is more than willing to work with your other healthcare providers.
How can I send my past medical records directly from my other health practitioners to you?
- Under HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.), your medical and health information are protected by law. Therefore, your signed authorization is required for any practitioner to release your medical information. You can simply download the form by clicking here and send it to your doctor, so he/she can release your pertinent records to us.
Do I have to purchase the nutritional supplements only from your e-Dispensaries or can I buy them myself online or from somewhere else?
- While you are not required to purchase the products we recommend from our e-Dispensary, the majority of the supplements we recommend as part of our protocols are available through companies such as as e-Dispensary on our website. At the end of each consultation, if Dr.Ahn finds any need for nutritional supplements, she will send the prescription to the e-Dispensary, and it will be ready for you. This not only simplifies your ordering/re-ordering process but is also a safe choice.
- We strongly recommend that you DO NOT purchase your supplements from online sources such as amazon.com and ebay. There have been too many documented cases of individuals receiving cheap, counterfeit supplements through Amazon and eBay. To ensure that you are getting the right, high quality nutrients, we only recommend purchasing supplements directly from the manufacturers themselves, from certified distributors, or from companies that purchase from certified distributors.
- Please watch the following news clip about counterfeit supplements products: