The government will be removing private health insurance subsidies from a range of natural therapies

As part of the Federal government’s overhaul of the private health insurance system, cover for some natural therapies will now be removed from all private health insurance products.

The therapies that will no longer be covered include: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.

The government says that while consumers can still choose to access these services, they will no longer be able to claim benefits from their insurer from 1 April 2019.

“A review undertaken by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer found there is no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the listed natural therapies,” it says in a statement.

“Removing coverage for the listed natural therapies will ensure taxpayer funds are expended appropriately and not directed to therapies lacking evidence.

“Around 55% of the Australian population is covered by general treatment (extras) insurance. Removing coverage for the listed natural therapies will remove costs from the system and contribute to reducing private health insurance premium growth.”

Under these changes, it will be illegal for health funds to include the therapies in their coverage, which is generally found in the ‘extras’ package, says Australian Skeptics.

However, a spokesperson for the Department told Australian Skeptics that funds might end up offering vouchers for such therapies, but they cannot include them in health insurance coverage packages.

Australian Skeptics also points out that chiropractic, acupuncture and reiki are not listed among the binned therapies.