Removal of 16 natural therapies from private health insurance

In October 2017, the Australian Government announced changes to private health insurance, in an effort to make it more affordable and easier to compare.

One of the key changes was the removal of 16 natural therapies from complying health insurance extras/combined policies. This will take effect from 1 April 2019.

We recognise that some of our members currently use these excluded natural therapies, so let’s take a closer look at how this may affect you.

Which therapies are being removed?

From 1 April 2019, the following 16 natural therapies will no longer be covered under any complying health insurance product, including on Australian Unity’s products.

  • Alexander Technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • Buteyko
  • Western Herbalism
  • Feldenkrais
  • Homoeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates
  • Reflexology
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

Remedial massage, Chinese Medicine, and Acupuncture are not affected by the government changes and as such will remain on our extras and combined policies that currently provide cover for these services.

Is Australian Unity removing any Natural Therapies that the government has not requested be removed?

No. The Natural Therapies being removed by Australian Unity are limited to the 16 excluded therapies listed above.

Why are these natural therapies being removed?

Extras/combined policies that cover the 16 excluded natural therapies will no longer be eligible to receive the Australian Government rebate on private health insurance. After extensive research and a review of the therapeutic benefits of various treatments, the government came to the decision to remove natural therapies with consideration for the best use of taxpayer funds (i.e. the Australian Government rebate on private health insurance).

The removal of these natural therapies is one of several private health insurance reforms being rolled out over the next 12 to 18 months.

For those who currently benefit from any of these excluded natural therapies, you will continue to be able to claim benefits for treatment provided before 1 April 2019.

Additional Resource: The Department of Health; Private health insurance reforms: Changing coverage for some Natural Therapies

Are all health funds making these changes?

Because these are changes to government regulations, every health fund has to comply. That means that these excluded natural therapies must be removed from all complying health insurance policies effective from 1 April 2019.

Can you still claim for natural therapies you received before 1 April 2019?

If you received treatment before 1 April 2019 and you were covered for that particular natural therapy at the time, we will still process your claims within two years of the date of service.

You and your Australian Unity policy

Australian Unity policyholders impacted by the reforms will receive written correspondence advising of the relevant changes to their policy prior to 1 April, 2019.

For more information on the private health insurance reforms click here

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