Before prescribing any kind of hormone therapy, doctors will utilize all kinds of tests to measure hormone levels, including blood, urine, and saliva. If your prescriber (MD, DO, ND, NP) is well-informed about BHRT, they may be able to determine your specific imbalances through diagnostic hormone testing and write you a prescription for bioidentical hormone medications that can be filled at a compounding pharmacy like Belmar Pharma Solutions (it’s true, we deliver simple and convenient formulas optimized just for you). Proper diagnostic testing (which can vary from doctor to doctor) can help to ensure an accurate diagnosis so she or he can prescribe the exact combination of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) you need assuming this is the right choice for you. Regardless of which type of doctor you choose, it’s important to find a physician who listens respectfully, answers questions, makes you feel comfortable, and addresses your unique needs.
Does Insurance Cover Compounded Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
Medical insurance may cover the cost of doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and ongoing care, but may not cover compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurer to find out if a doctor is in your network and what is covered before beginning any treatment, as it will depend on your specific policy and benefits. Some hormone health specialists are fee-for-service providers, which means that patients pay for covered and uncovered services out of pocket and may submit their own claims for insurance reimbursement for covered services. Your insurance is not billed directly.
Some other payment options may include a program or bundle where your labs, consultation, and/or medications are all included in one price. Some practices charge by the program, by the month, or may even be an annual membership – like a concierge medical practice. These options vary from practice to practice and provider to provider. Something to ask the provider as you are making your decision to start hormone replacement therapy.
Good news! Most practices will accept your HSA or FSA card. If for some reason they don’t, you can certainly submit your payment receipts. There are great financial and tax benefits to using these payment methods for all or part of your treatment.
What to Bring to Your First Appointment?
So now you might have an idea or two on the best kind of doctor for you and you might even have a name at this point. So what about that first visit? How do you come in like a boss so you can confidently engage with your new menopause medical partner? We have a great idea. Hormone Therapy Specialist, Dr. Angela DeRosa, DO, CPE, MBA Founder of the Hormonal Health Institute and Medical Director of Belmar Pharma Solutions has created a letter here that you can share with your doctor which could help make the first steps of inquiry easier. You are welcome to print out the letter, but if you’d rather cut to the chase – here are a few conversation starters:
- I’ve been doing research (a little with Dr. Google) but also with reliable sources and I think hormone replacement is for me!
- Will you help me optimize my hormones?
- Do you have specialized training in this field and are you comfortable prescribing bio-identical hormones?
- How long have you been treating women with bio-identical hormones?
- What organizations, beyond getting your medical degree, have you received specialized training from?
- Would you like recommendations for training and further materials like I’ve been reading?
Once you finally find the right provider for you, it may take a few days or weeks to get an appointment. Don’t be surprised if that happens to you. Typically, the types of providers we are talking about take more time with their patients than your average standard of care provider. Your first appointment could be upwards of an hour.
If you must wait several weeks for your first appointment, use the time to prepare for your visit. This Menopause Rating Scale, developed by Klaas Heinemann: Alexander Ruebig: Peter Potthoff:; Hermann PG Schneider: Frank Strelow: Lothar AJ Heinemann; and Do Minh Thai: is a common tool used by prescribers with their female patients. It will help you track how you are feeling and identify patterns in your symptoms. Just remember – a symptom may be “normal” doesn’t mean you have to ignore it and be uncomfortable. Feeling badly is never ok. Life is way too short. Track everything. Don’t have time to walk around with a paper in your purse tracking your hot flashes? Know that there are 11 key symptoms but here are 5 important ones you should pay attention to…
- Hot flashes and
- Sleep problems
- Feeling Unhappy
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Sexual problems
Get ready girl! You will want to leave that first visit feeling empowered, knowledgeable, and heard…and we want that for you!
Good luck on your doctor-finding menopause journey and know that we are here for you every step of the way.