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Naturopathic health treatments are growing in popularity in Australia. According to the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS), the number of registered naturopaths in Australia has been steadily increasing and as of April 2023, there were over 7,000 in the country, indicating a growing interest in naturopathy as a profession.
You can find out what insurance coverage is available for naturopathic health treatments here with Savvy. You'll be able to compare health insurance policies from a panel of some of Australia’s top insurers in one place. Find and compare health insurance through us today.
What is naturopathy and is it covered by health insurance?
Naturopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare which focuses on natural remedies and treatments to support the body's innate healing abilities. It encompasses various treatments and remedies including herbal medicine, nutrition advice, massage therapies, acupuncture and lifestyle changes to promote overall wellbeing and address both acute and chronic health issues.
Naturopathy is gaining popularity in Australia as people seek holistic approaches to health and wellness. However, Medicare does not cover natural therapies or ‘alternative’ medicine.
Under Australian Government legislation enacted in April 2019, private health insurers are also no longer allowed to offer cover for some specified natural therapies. The naturapathic therapies that private health insurance may not offer rebates for include:
- Alexander technique
- Bowen therapy
- tai chi
- Western herbalism
Despite this ban on offering private health insurance coverage for some named naturopathic treatments, some extras cover health insurance policies do offer cover for certain treatments which are considered ‘natural’ therapies. These include:
- remedial massage
However, because of the government restrictions, you generally can’t claim naturopathic treatments on private health insurance. In addition, your extras cover may only offer coverage if the service provider you use is a registered practitioner recognised by your health fund as a preferred provider. You can ask your health fund if they can provide you with a list of preferred providers in your area.
Because coverage for naturopathic treatments can be slightly complicated in Australia, it’s important to compare policies carefully if you’re considering using natural or ‘alternative’ therapists.
By comparing the terms and conditions of extras policies through Savvy, you’ll be able to get a clear idea of which ones may offer the most suitable coverage for treatments by natural therapists operating in your area.
Are there waiting periods which apply to natural therapies?
Natural therapies such as acupuncture or remedial massage are known as ancillary health services. When you first buy an extras health insurance policy, there may be waiting periods involved. A waiting period is a specified period that you need to wait after purchasing the policy before you can claim any benefits from the policy.
For pre-existing conditions (such as health issues you experienced in the 12 months prior to purchasing your health insurance policy), there may be a waiting period of up to 12 months. For all other ancillary services, the waiting period is usually between two and six months.
However, some health funds may offer waivers of waiting periods as a special offer to attract new customers. These special offers may allow you to claim for treatments such as optical and dental as soon you’ve paid your first month’s premium without a waiting period.
Comparing extras health insurance policies through Savvy could help you see what special offers are available right now and choose a policy which offers the coverage for ancillary services, such as a range of natural treatments, you’re looking for.
Types of health insurance
This can help you pay for medical treatment if you need to be admitted to hospital. It can help cover the cost of your admission or accommodation and the fees charged by doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists. It can also cover other costs associated with a stay in a private hospital.
This helps cover the costs of health care treatments outside a hospital setting which aren’t covered by Medicare. This can include major and minor dental treatment, orthodontics, hearing aids, physiotherapy, glasses, contact lenses and podiatry (in most cases with annual limits).
This is a standard health insurance policy designed for a single person, rather than being tailored to cater to the needs of a couple or family. It may include hospital cover plus extras, or either of these types of insurance on their own, depending on what you're after for your health cover.
A family health insurance policy is designed for a family unit including dependent children who may reach up to 31 years of age with some insurers. It offers private health insurance suitable for the whole family and may include shared limits for all members included in your policy.
A health insurance policy aimed at seniors is designed to appeal to people who are in the second half of their life. These are often specific Silver Plus policies that offer the same cover as other health insurance policies, with the exception that pregnancy and childbirth cover may not be included.
Visitors who are in Australia on a temporary basis for travel, work or study may be able to take out Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). Many visas issued in Australia come with a requirement to take out this type of insurance, which covers visitors who may not be covered by Medicare.
Ambulance cover is generally available either packaged into your private health insurance or on its own as a separate policy or subscription. By having this protection, you could be covered for all eligible ambulance travel in Australia (subject to your insurer's terms and conditions).
The cheapest and most barebones form of private hospital insurance, this can include cover for rehab, in-hospital psychiatric services and palliative care. Having this policy will enable you to avoid paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading.
Bronze hospital cover is a step up from basic insurance, including 18 further clinical categories such as ear, nose and throat, bone, joint and muscle, digestive system, joint reconstructions, gynaecology and chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for cancer.
Silver hospital cover is the second-most expensive type of policy and offers the second-most clinical categories. On top of what's offered by basic and bronze cover, it also includes heart and vascular system, lung and chest, blood, hearing device implantation and dental surgery.
The highest level of private hospital insurance available in Australia, gold policies can offer cover for pregnancy and birth, weight loss surgery, assisted reproductive services and insulin pumps on top of all the categories provided by silver, bronze and basic hospital insurance.
Why compare health insurance through Savvy?
Frequently asked questions about health insurance for naturopathic treatments
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