Private health insurance reforms: Changing coverage for some natural therapies

There will be changes to the way that natural therapies are covered by private health insurance from 1 April 2019

Page last updated: 22 December 2017

PDF version: Private health insurance reforms: Changing coverage for some natural therapies (PDF 43 KB)

  • The Private Health Insurance Rebate will no longer apply to the following natural therapies from 1 April 2019: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.
  • This means that private health insurers will no longer be able to pay for these therapies as a benefit under the Private Health Insurance Rules.
  • Consumers will still be able to choose to access these natural therapies outside the private health insurance system.
  • Some private health insurers provide access to gym services and other products as incentives for consumers to purchase private health insurance. Private health insurers may choose to fund natural therapies as incentives, which do not attract the Private Health Insurance Rebate.

Why is this important?

  • A review undertaken by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer found there is no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the listed natural therapies.
  • Changing coverage for the listed natural therapies will ensure taxpayer funds are expended appropriately and not directed to therapies that do not demonstrate evidence of clinical efficacy.

Who will benefit?

  • Around 55 per cent of the Australian population is covered by general treatment (extras) insurance. Changing coverage for the listed natural therapies will remove costs from the system and contribute to reducing private health insurance premium growth.

How much will this cost?

These changes do not involve any cost to the Budget.

What impact will this change have on private health insurance?

This change will contribute to reducing private health insurance premium price increases.