Stated health insurance coverage


Q. I am a federal retiree in Northern California. I am covered under a Northern California Kaiser HMO. I downloaded the 2012 benefit plan from the federal website for Kaiser HMO Northern California. Page 33 of this plan says acupuncture is covered.

The Kaiser customer service information for this plan says the federal government opted out of this treatment. How do you find out who is correct?

A. I, too, looked on Page 33. You are right, and the person you talked to at your plan is wrong. If a benefit is stated in the plan brochure, then they must cover it, with you, in this case, paying the co-pay, but only as long as the acupuncture is used for chronic pain or nausea.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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