You may have already received a letter or email from your private health insurer stating that from April 1st, 2019, you will no longer be able to claim for certain Complementary Medicine Therapies, including Naturopathy. Other therapies cut from health fund rebates are Alexander Technique, Aromatherapy, Bowen Therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, Western Herbalism, Homeopathy, Iridology, Kinesiology, Pilates, Reflexology, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Tai Chi, and Yoga
Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Massage and Exercise Physiology are not included in this decision, enabling you to continue claiming these services, if your health fund cover allows. Some health funds may continue to add incentives that may include services from Complementary Medicine Therapist. You will need to ask your private health insurer if they will offer these incentives.
Why have health funds scrapped rebates for some Complementary Medicines?
It is estimated that just over half of Australia’s population that has private health insurance includes ‘extras’ cover. By removing the Government subsidies to health insurance that include extras, the Australian Government believes this will remove costs from the system and contribute to reducing private health insurance premium growth.
The Australian Government justified the decision with a document produced by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) that stated there was no scientific evidence supporting the use of the 17 complementary therapies listed. This document is currently under investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman as the NHMRC admitted the usual scientific standards were not applied to their research in the development of the report, resulting in inaccuracies.
Complementary Medicines in Australia
The Complementary Medicine Industry continues to grow with 8.1 million Australian’s regularly using natural therapies. Research continues to expand and provide an understanding of the benefits of vitamins and minerals that have been used to improve and sustain health for decades, and herbs with a history of hundreds of years. Naturopathy combines the use of nutrition, western herbal medicine and homeopathy to address disease and enhance health. Be rest assured that your safety and well being is the priority when seeking Naturopathic support for your health. Naturopaths are degree qualified therapists bound by high standards of ethical conduct. Please speak to our Naturopath, Louise, if you have any questions about the private health insurance reforms.