Removal of Natural Therapies from Private Health Insurance as of 1 April 2019

Page last updated: 07 February 2018

As of 1 April 2019, the following natural therapies will no longer receive the private health insurance rebate: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homoeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi and yoga.

In 2015, the Natural Therapies Review Advisory Committee, chaired by the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer, reported that 'clear evidence could not be found' for the effectiveness of the listed natural therapies. The decision to remove these natural therapies from private health insurance was made following that report.

Commonwealth funding for health is typically only paid where a therapy has demonstrated clinical efficacy, and these services do not meet this requirement. Even so, consumers can still choose to access these services, but they will not be able to claim the private health insurance rebate.

Some natural therapy providers will not be supportive of this change. However, the Government supports the findings of the Committee and cannot continue subsidising private health insurance policies that provide cover for therapies that lack evidence of clinical efficacy.

The reforms announced on 13 October 2017 include a number of other changes, which are designed to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable.