Frequently Asked Questions


Some prospective clients have asked questions about the American Acupuncture Council (AAC) professional liability program. Here are answers to some of the common questions we have been asked about our outstanding program:

Is this an ‘A’ rated program?

The AAC program is underwritten by one of the leaders in alternative health professional liability coverage, Allied Professionals Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group, Inc. Allied is rated A Prime (Unsurpassed) by Demotech, and A- (Excellent) by AM Best. In addition, and just as important, the Allied team is committed to acupuncture, and has the experience and know-how to defend you if you face a problem.

Is AAC new to acupuncture?

No. AAC is one of the most established programs in acupuncture. Founded in 1986 to fight spiraling malpractice insurance costs. The program was initially founded as a California only program and was expanded nationally in the early 90’s. Over the last three decades AAC has consistently provided the most affordable package of coverage in the country.

I want a carrier who will fight for me. Can I count on AAC to do that?

When it comes to being tough on claims, AAC’s reputation is second to none. Every year AAC’s punishing approach to defending its members not only produces dozens of malpractice dismissals, but also exacts many thousands of dollars in court ordered sanctions against abusive plaintiffs. No one expects a problem, but if a claim occurs, AAC is the fighter you want in your corner.

Will AAC settle a claim without my consent?

No. AAC will never settle a claim without your written consent. When your reputation is at stake, there is no compromising.

How much does coverage cost?

AAC has some of the lowest rates in this profession. In addition, the AAC program offers other outstanding discounts, including up to 75% off for new practitioners, up to 30% off for participation in risk management programs, and 50% for part time practitioners.

So why are AAC’s rates so low?

First, AAC maintains very tight underwriting standards. AAC is looking for the best practitioners with a good claims history. Second, AAC handles all claims management and litigation in-house, giving AAC better control of results. The savings are then passed on to participants in the form of lower rates.

Do you offer a Part Time discount?

Yes, you may be eligible for this discount. A part time application is required.

Do you offer a Faculty discount?

Yes. If your role as a faculty member requires you to limit your private practice to part time, a part time discount will be extended to you.

What is the difference between the Elite and Preferred Program?

The Elite program is a special program which provides you a discounted coverage costs for incorporating an Arbitration Agreement and Informed Consent into your standard office intake documentation. It is widely accepted, and very effective at eliminating spurious claims that might be brought against you. The Preferred program is our standard program and requires no special changes to your normal office procedures.

Can I treat a cancer patient?

Yes, but only for the symptoms of the disease not the actual disease itself.

How can I get coverage for Injection Therapy on my malpractice policy?

You would need to fill out an Injection Therapy Application, including the list of substances you are injecting. You must also show documentation that certifies that you have completed training for Injection Therapy (i.e. certificate of completion). Coverage is subject to underwriting approval. Click here for an application.

Is herbal medicine covered under this policy?

Yes, as long as it is within your scope of practice within the state in which you are licensed. It is not covered in NY and RI.

What does Differential Diagnosis mean on the application?

Based on patient history, signs, and symptoms; it is the process of identifying all conditions that share similar traits and determining treatment in eastern medical terms.

I treat women’s issues. How does my policy deal with coverage for Gynecology and Obstetrics?

Generally, as long as you stay within your scope of practice, you are fine, with one exception: If you want to provide acupuncture during labor, a special application process is required. To better understand the role of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the areas of Gynecology and Obstetrics, please refer to the following papers which were developed in conjunction with the leadership of the profession throughout the country: Gynecology FAQ, Obstetrics FAQ

Where can I obtain a copy of my Policy?

Contact AAC for a complete copy of your coverage documentation.

How do I Renew my policy?

Each year you will receive a policy renewal from AAC. Complete and return this renewal along with payment to renew your policy.

Where can I find my MEMBER ID?

Your member ID is included on your policy renewal. If you have lost your ID #, contact AAC to retrieve it.

Why does AAC have a membership fee?

Our discounted group coverage is offered under a special federal program which requires a membership fee. Insurance carriers understand this, and simply reduce their group coverage charge to offset this membership fee. Ultimately, there is no cost to you.

Do you require me to have a signed informed consent form for all my patients?

No. However, informed consent is a great idea, and some states think it is so important they now mandate their use. Check with your state. In addition, you can get a discount on your coverage if you use an informed consent. This is called our Elite Program. To learn more about the value of informed consents, click here.

What modalities does the AAC policy cover?

In general the AAC policy covers whatever is within your scope of practice within the state you are licensed to practice. There are specific exclusions in the AAC policy. Please check the exclusions section of the professional coverage endorsement for details of which modalities are specifically excluded by the AAC policy.

I heard that the AAC policy does not cover for the turning of breach babies or the inducement of labor? Is this true?

You can provide acupuncture to a pregnant person, and if doing so improves the chances that a breach baby will turn naturally, or that labor will proceed naturally, then there is nothing wrong with this, and it is covered. However, there is no scope of practice for Acupuncture anywhere in the country which permits you to turn a breach baby or to induce labor, or to prescribe any form a treatment intended for those purposes. Only a licensed medical doctor can manage a pregnancy, including prescribing treatment to turn a breach baby or to induce labor. Be careful not to cross these lines, no matter what claim someone makes. If an OB asks your assistance with a pregnancy in providing acupuncture, as discussed above, great! But, remember, the OB must play the role of primary care provider with respect to managing a pregnancy. There are no exceptions.

I understand that you have a special program for acupuncturists who want to provide acupuncture during labor. How can I enroll?

AAC has pioneered a program called Needling While in Labor, to help reduce labor pains. If an acupuncturists has attained the proper training, applies for this special coverage, is approved by the AAC underwriting department for this special coverage, and pays two times the premium for this coverage, an acupuncturist can be covered by AAC to provide acupuncture treatment during labor and attend the birth.

What about Sex Claims? Is there any coverage?

Yes. AAC’s standard policy includes $30,000 in defense coverage for sexual misconduct allegations. In addition, higher limits are available at a minor additional charge.

Is there any HIPAA or Audit Coverage included?

Yes and Yes. Should you be investigated by a government agency for compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or audited by a health plan for compliance with the provisions of their provider agreement, the AAC policy provides up to $30,000 in audit and defense coverage.

Are arbitration forms required?

No. But, you can elect to use approved arbitration forms in your practice, and if you do, you will receive a 30% discount.

Do I need occurrence or claims made coverage?

AAC has a unique claims-made option which converts to occurrences coverage free of charge after just ten years. For new licensee’s you get the benefit of lower costs in the early years as the policy moves toward a mature rate, but, the same benefit of an occurrence policy by the time you reach the tenth year. It is a great cost savings program for you.

If I am switching from a Claims Made Policy, does AAC offer retro coverage?

Yes. Retroactive coverage can normally be purchased at far more affordable rates than the typical “tail” cost from your prior carrier (Rates vary, subject to underwriting approval).

I heard that if I send a patient to collections, I am not covered?

That’s not correct. There have been some comments circulating that program participants are not covered if they send someone to collections and then that person sues them for malpractice. These comments are categorically untrue.

Who do I call for policy changes?

AAC. And you won’t reach an auto attendant system when you call AAC for customer service, you’ll reach a friendly voice ready to help you. Whether you have a legal concern or need to make a policy change, AAC provides hands on customer service 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST to ensure your needs are met.

Does it matter where I practice?

No. The AAC program is available in all fifty states, and will cover you wherever you go. The only requirement is that you be legally licensed to practice in the state where you provide care. AAC also offers a special endorsement for occasional travel outside the United States and for care rendered at U.S. military bases.

Is there a difference between Premises Liability and General Liability?

Premises Liability – covers if the patient in the immediate treatment area should allege injury or damage to personal belongings as a result of a non-malpractice incident. Such as, slipping and falling from a wet spot on the floor, tripping and falling from a frayed rug, fainting, etc.
General Liability – covers several risks. First, it expands the definition of premises liability to include common areas of the building that you are contracted to be liable and expands the definition of covered persons form the patient to invited guests on the premises. Second, it can cover personal injury; false imprisonment, liable, and slander. Third, it can cover medical expenses without regard to fault. Forth, it has enhanced products liability coverage. This coverage extends the coverage from products used during treatment to include products sold off the shelf of the business. Fifth, coverage includes fire and water legal liability. If the Named insured is leasing space and they are alleged to have started a fire or broke a water pipe, this section of the general liability policy can cover for the property damage.

What is the difference between an Additional Insured and a Professional Corporation?

Additional Insured (AI): is an entity (usually person or corporation) that is seeking to be added to the Named Insured’s policy. In case, the AI (landlord, practice partner, clinic) is named in a cause of action as a consequence of an injury that the Named Insured is accused of causing.
Professional Corporation (PC): is coverage for a professional corporation, usually a limited liability corporation (LLC), the Named Insured is associated. PC coverage is no change as long as the Named Insured is the majority owner of the PC. If the Named Insured is not the majority owner, then standard additional insured rates apply. As we receive additional questions for our program we will update our questions and answers section of the website as needed. If you have any additional questions about the AAC program, please give AAC a call at 800-838-0383.