What’s happening with natural therapies?
The outcome of a review by the Australian Government means that health insurers can no longer cover some natural therapies from 1 April 2019.
The positive news is that we can still cover remedial massage, myotherapy, Chinese herbal medicine consultations and acupuncture, which are the most common services that members claim for.
Services not permitted at 1 April 2019:
Services that can be claimed for from 1 April 2019:
While only a small percentage of our members claim for these services, that still matters to us. So, we’re doing what we can to give back to you – we’re investing any savings from the removal of these therapies into benefit improvements.
Read more about the removal of some natural therapies here.
Can I still claim for yoga and Pilates under other benefits?
From 1 April 2019, we’re no longer permitted to pay benefits for yoga and Pilates services. Current advice from the Government is that we’re not allowed to pay a benefit regardless of who provides the service (even Pilates classes provided by a physiotherapist).
Why did the Government remove the listed natural therapies?
The Department of Health has stated the reason behind the removal of some natural therapies is because: “a review chaired by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer found there is no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the listed natural therapies.”
Read more about the Government’s decision to remove some natural therapies here.
What will happen to the benefit limits for natural therapies?
From 1 April 2019, you will still have the same benefit limit, but you will only be able to use the limit for services that are permitted including remedial massage, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine consultation and myotherapy.
If you regularly claim for a service that will be removed, we encourage you to make the most of your benefits while they’re still available.
Our benefits limits reset each calendar year, so you’ll have up until 31 December 2018 to use this year’s limits. As for your 2019 limits, you’ll have up until 31 March to use them on the services being removed.
Please note, you don’t need to submit your claim by those dates, you just need to access the services. You can submit your claim within two years of the service date.
Will my premium change because some natural therapies have been removed?
The natural therapies that have been removed only account for 0.6% of claims we pay towards, so financially the impact will be minimal.
However, any savings made from the removal of the natural therapies listed by the Government will be redistributed into benefit improvements for our members.
So, while premiums won’t decrease because of the removal of some natural therapies, we will be improving other benefits available under Extras cover.