Natural Therapies Health Insurance: Massage

Natural therapies health insurance

Get cash back for natural therapies with extras cover

With the growing trend towards alternative medicines, many insurers are now also including natural therapies in their extras cover. This pays a benefit towards visits to practitioners in a range of fields including acupuncture, remedial massage, reflexology, homeopathy, naturopathy, Chinese herbalism and shiatsu.

This guide looks at which services are covered, what you can expect to get back and which are the best health funds for natural therapies.

Compare cover for natural therapies

You can find natural therapies in extras cover. Below we've highlighted some Finder partners health funds who offer cover for natural therapies. Most policies have a 'combined limit' meaning that amount of includes other treatments too. All the below policies have a separate limit for general dental too, using other services in the policy is a great way to get more value from your premiums.

Fund Policy Included treatments: Annual Limit Price per month Go to Site
HCF Logo Image: Supplied

HCF

Mid Extras
  • Remedial massage
  • Osteopathy
  • Chinese herbal medicine
$150 $30.30 Go to Site
AHM logo Image: Supplied

ahm

black 60
  • Remedial massage
$200 $34.50 Go to Site
nib logo Image: Supplied

nib

Core and Wellbeing
  • Acupuncture
  • Myotherapy
  • Chinese herbalism
$300 $51.07 Go to Site

* Prices are based on a single male living in Sydney, NSW.

What types of services are covered by health funds?

There are a wide range of services available that fall under the umbrella of natural therapies. New health insurance reforms have identified that the following techniques have been shown to be effective, meaning insurers will be able to continue offering them after April 2019 when the reforms go into effect:

  • Acupuncture. Use of needles to stimulate pressure points.
  • Physiotherapy. Injury treatment that uses physical methods like massage, heat and exercise.
  • Exercise4 physiology. The use of exercise for the management and prevention of disease.
  • Chiropractic. Manipulation of the spinal column and joints to prevent and treat injury.
  • Remedial massage. The use of massage to treat pain and injury in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • Chinese medicine. The treatment of illness, injury and disease using traditional Chinese methods including acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage and dietary therapy.

The extent to which these services are covered will depend largely on the insurer and policy.

As of April 2019, health insurers will no longer be allowed to offer rebates on the following natural therapies and will have to remove them from cover (although they will be allowed to offer you "vouchers" for these services as a marketing tactic to attract your business):

  • Alexander technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • Buteyko
  • Feldenkrais
  • Herbalism
  • Homoeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates
  • Reflexology
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

Are there any out-of-pocket expenses?

The amount you can claim per year on natural therapies will depend on the level of cover your policy provides. As the policy comparison table illustrates, maximum benefit limits can range from $50 up to $500 or more, but as premium costs are generally higher the greater the benefit paid, you would need to factor in how often you use these services to decide if this cover is right for you.

Generally, there will be out-of-pocket expenses for some natural therapies (the gap between what a practitioner charges and what you can claim back from your insurer), and for those services that don’t qualify for the Private Health Rebate, the amount you pay will be greater. So again, it’s important to weigh up the costs versus the benefits when choosing extras cover for natural therapies.


Are there waiting periods?

As with most health insurance policies, waiting periods do apply. A waiting period is a pre-determined amount of time you must wait before being able to claim a benefit for a particular service. Its purpose is to prevent people from joining a fund, claiming for a service and then cancelling their policy; a practice that disadvantages long-term fund members who have paid their dues.

In the case of hospital cover, waiting periods can be 12 months or more, but with extras cover, they are usually only two months (although services such as major dental can be up to 6 months). In the case of natural therapies, two months is the average waiting period before you can claim for a service. However, insurers often waive these waiting periods as a promotional incentive and are required to do so if you have switched from another insurer where you have already served a waiting period for the same service.


What are the benefits of complementary therapies?

It is estimated that more than 70% of Australians now include a form of natural therapy in their overall healthcare, so many people obviously believe such services can be of benefit when used in conjunction with traditional medical treatment.

Many natural therapies treat the mind and body as a whole and this approach may be beneficial for overall wellbeing and the maintenance of good health. While traditional medicine often treats symptoms after the fact, some natural therapies focus on identifying potential illnesses and diseases before they occur, which can be a useful prevention tool, particularly when they promote a healthy lifestyle as part of the preventative treatment.

While the recent government review of natural therapies that attract a Private Health Rebate failed to find enough evidence to suggest that most of these services were beneficial, the conclusion they drew was that a lack of evidence does not necessarily imply a lack of credibility. After all, many natural therapies have been practised for thousands of years in various countries and cultures, so they are obviously perceived as beneficial for many people around the world.

Compare more options for natural therapies

The following table lists some partner health insurance providers and the amount of cover offered by each for natural therapy services.

Health fund How much is covered? Find out more
ahm health fund ahm's Lifestyle Extras cover. Reimburses up to $400 per person per year and $800 per family per year for 5 complementary and alternative therapies including:
  • Remedial Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Myotherapy
More info
  • Australian Unity's Harmony Natural Therapies Extras cover
  • Reimburses up to $350 per person per year for Acupuncture and Myotherapy. Remedial Massage sub-limit is $150 per person per year.
More info
Bupa logo
  • Bupa's Choice Extras 60
  • Initial cover is $500 and caps for $1,000 on the 6th year.
  • Bupa's Top Extras 60
  • Covers up to $400 per person per year.
  • Bupa's Top Extras 90 and 75 Extras
  • Cover up to $500 per person per year.
More info
GMHBA health fund
  • GMHBA's Mid Extras Set Benefits and 65%
  • Covers up to $300 per person per year and $600 per family per year for Acupuncture and Remedial Massage.
  • GMHBA's Top Extras Set Benefits and 75%
  • Covers up to $350 per person per year and $700 per family per year for Acupuncture and Remedial Massage.
More info
HCF logo
  • HCF's Mid Extras
  • Covers you $150 per person for Remedial Massage, Myotherapy, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine consultation.
  • HCF's Vital Extras
  • Initially covers $250 up until the 3rd year for $450 for Remedial Massage, Myotherapy, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine consultation.
  • HCF's Top Extras
  • Initially covers $300 up until the 3rd year for $500 per person for Remedial Massage, Myotherapy, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine consultation.
More info
Health.com.au
  • health.com.au's Extras 50
  • Cover pays 50% of consultation fees (up to $400 per year) for combined limit for Acupuncture, Myotherapy and Chinese medicine consultations only, and for deep tissue or gentle and shallow massage to treat muscles that are damaged, knotted, tense or immobile.
More info
HIF Logo
  • HIF's Saver Options cover
  • Initially up to $50 per person per year to 3 years and up to $100 for over than 3 years.
  • HIF's Special Options
  • Initially up to $100 per person per year for 3 years and up to $200 for over than 3 years. .
  • HIF's Super Option
  • Initially up to $250 per person per year for 3 years and up to $350 for over than 3 years.
  • HIF's Premium Options
  • Initially up to $250 per person per year for 3 years and up to $350 for over than 3 years.
More info
  • nib's Wellbeing Extras cover
  • Reimburses up to $300 per person per year ($150 limit on remedial massage) for acupuncture, myotherapy and Chinese herbalism.
More info
  • Transport Health's Top Extras cover
  • Reimburses up to $600 per person per year for remedial massage, acupuncture and Chinese herbalism.
More info

Compare extras options from Australian health funds

Simply search extras only cover then refine your search by "Alternative therapies" to see all options

* The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.

Picture: Shutterstock

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