Naturopath Health Insurance

Compare quotes for extras health insurance which may cover natural therapies with Savvy.

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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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: 

  1. Alexander technique 
  2. aromatherapy 
  3. Bowen therapy 
  4. Buteyko 
  5. Feldenkrais 
  6. homeopathy 
  7. iridology 
  8. kinesiology 
  9. naturopathy 
  10. pilates 
  11. reflexology 
  12. Rolfing 
  13. shiatsu 
  14. tai chi 
  15. Western herbalism 
  16. yoga

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: 

  1. remedial massage
  2. myotherapy
  3. acupuncture

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.

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Frequently asked questions about health insurance for naturopathic treatments

If I switch health funds so I have more coverage for natural therapies, will I have to serve my waiting periods again?

This will depend on the type of extras policy you had before the switch and your insurer. If you’re upgrading your extras cover from a cheaper policy to a more comprehensive one, there may be additional waiting periods to serve. However, some health funds will recognise and take into account the previous waiting periods you’ve already served prior to switching funds.

Will a cheap extras policy offer me coverage for natural therapies such as acupuncture?

All extras policies are different and health funds have different rules about what is and isn’t covered under ancillary services. However, in general, a basic extras policy will only cover you for the most basic healthcare treatments such as optical and dental services. If you wish to have a greater range of cover, you may need to look at more expensive extras policies which will offer a wider range of coverage, such as for chiropractor visits, podiatry and physiotherapy.

Can I be covered for a visit to a naturopath to receive nutrition advice?

If your naturopathic nutritionist is a registered provider recognised by your insurer, you may be able to claim back a portion of the cost of receiving nutrition advice. Health insurance companies must ensure all healthcare providers are registered practitioners with a medically-recognised qualification in their specialty field. When you make a claim on your health insurance policy, you’ll be asked to supply the provider number of your healthcare practitioner. For online claims, the provider number will be seven digits followed by one letter. 

Is the cost of any form of Chinese medicine covered by private health insurance?

No – Chinese medicine is a common exclusion on extras health policies, so it isn’t covered by private health insurance. It is one of the 16 natural health treatments which health funds may not offer cover for following the Australian Government’s 2016 review into naturopathic and alternative health treatments.

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