Health insurance with gym membership benefits
Many health funds offer gym membership discounts and rebates.
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Extras cover often pays benefits towards a gym membership. Simply look for diet and lifestyle limits when searching for an extras policy. Alternatively, many funds have agreements with gyms and can provide you with access to memberships at a discounted rate.
The table below outlines some of the annual limits of gym benefits that are included with extras cover. Compare to see how much you can save on your gym membership when you take out extras cover with some of our partners below.
Health insurance gym benefits differ with each fund's extras policies. According to the Private Health Insurance Act, a benefit can only be paid if it is part of a fitness program to treat an existing medical condition.
How much cover you receive for these health-related activities depends on your insurer, the level of cover you have with them and the benefit limits that apply to your policy. In order to claim you typically require:
- An extras health insurance policy that includes reimbursement for gym membership.
- A referral from a GP or health professional.
- Receipts from your gym membership or fitness classes.
Health maintenance programs contain a range of services covered by private health insurers which are designed to prevent illness and promote healthier living. Insurers reward participation in these programs, not so much out of the goodness of their hearts, but to reduce the likelihood of their members making claims – but either way, everybody wins.
Typical health maintenance services include:
The amount you can save on gym membership with health insurance depends on the level of cover offered by your policy. Maximum benefit limits are typically only a few hundred dollars a year, so you would need to weigh up the benefits versus costs to decide if it is the right sort of cover for you.
If you suffer from a chronic medical condition where such health services would be of benefit to you, it may be well worth your while to be covered. Or if they are services that you use regularly anyway, paying a few hundred dollars less for them every year would obviously make sense.
Either way, claiming for these services is generally a retrospective process, so you need to pay for them yourself upfront and then seek reimbursement from your insurer, armed with evidence such as a GP referral and receipts proving it is a registered and approved facility.
Exclusions or circumstances where a benefit would not be paid on this type of cover might include:
- If the gym or fitness centre is not approved by your insurer (some insurers require that you only attend facilities they have an agreement with).
- If the service was not medically necessary (many insurers require you to have a referral from a healthcare professional such as a GP, physiotherapist, chiropractor or specialist).
- If you hire a personal trainer or join a 24-hour fitness centre (some insurers don’t recognise these services).
A possible reason why some insurers won’t cover the cost of a personal trainer is because the industry is largely self-regulated and only around two-thirds of personal trainers are registered with industry associations such as Fitness Australia or Physical Activity Australia. Registration with these organisations guarantees a personal trainer is qualified (minimum Certificate IV in Fitness, ideally Diploma of Fitness).
If you are thinking of using a personal trainer, make sure they are qualified and also:
- Insured. Public liability and professional indemnity insurance for personal trainers is optional, but necessary to protect you if you suffer a loss or are injured while using their services.
- Recommended. A good personal trainer should be able to provide references from satisfied customers and be happy to do so, so make sure you ask.
- Affordable. A one-on-one session with a personal trainer can cost anywhere from $50 to $90 an hour and payment should be as-you-go, rather than requiring large sums upfront.
- Personable. A good personal trainer is friendly, likeable, knowledgeable, patient and firmly focused on helping you achieve your goals.
If you're looking to sign up to a new gym and kickstart your fitness regime, you may also be able to get a discount on your weekly rate. Some examples from policies on finder.com.au include:
- ahm - Sign up for a Goodlife or Fitness First to save 10%.
- myOwn - through AIA Vitality you can save 50% on selected Virgin Active memberships (and 30% off Fitness First).
- HCF - Members can get a 10% discount on a 3 or 12-month membership with Fitness First.
Compare over 30 Australian health funds, on your results page simply tick 'diet and lifestyle products' to see the policies which include health rebates.
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