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Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance

If you’re considering or using natural therapies to alleviate conditions, such as anxiety, menopause or ADHD, then you need to be aware of the Government reforms that now has private health funds excluding specific alternative therapies.
Fact Checked

Updated: 22 May 2024

From 1 April 2019, 16 natural therapies are no longer covered under private health insurance general treatments (Extras). However, select natural therapies can still be offered by health funds, for example, Chinese medicine, remedial massage and acupuncture. Whether you can claim a benefit depends on your chosen insurer and level of Extras cover you have.

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Private health insurance reforms for natural therapies

In October 2017 the Australian Government announced several changes to private health insurance. The reasoning behind this was to make private health insurance more affordable and easier to compare.

As part of these reforms, 16 natural therapies are now excluded from private health insurance general treatments (as at 1 April 2019), meaning you will no longer receive benefits for them.

Natural therapies removed from private health insurance

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Natural therapies still available from health funds

Natural therapy insurance is available from select Extras health cover. Depending on your health insurer and level of cover, you could claim for therapies such as:

Remedial massage

A type of massage that treats muscle soreness and immobility, often related to an already diagnosed condition. Generally, treats sports injuries and musculoskeletal related issues such as arthritis, lower back and sciatic pain.


The assessment of muscles, joints and nerves to treat the source of an injury and its symptoms. This treatment is generally recommended for sports injuries or any musculoskeletal problems.

Exercise physiology

Physical exercise to help improve a person’s overall health. Generally, people who, for example, require physiology are those that suffer from obesity, asthma, cardiovascular diseases.

Chinese medicine

A range of traditional medicine practices that originate in China. Chinese Medicine generally benefits someone suffering from a chronic disorder, often of genealogical and gastrointestinal nature.


Acupuncture involves the use of fine needles across pressure points on the skin. It can help people struggling with dental pain, jaw pain or nausea related to chemotherapy and other surgical operations.

Waiting periods for natural therapy insurance

The typical waiting period for claiming natural therapies is two months after the commencement date of your policy. However, waiting periods may vary between companies. You might want to request quotes from some of Australia’s major health brands and compare their offerings.

How to get a private health insurance rebate for natural therapies

Benefits for natural treatments are available through an Extras policy. However, the therapy type and benefit amount you can claim will depend on your choice of health fund and the level of cover you purchase, for example, Basic, Medium or Comprehensive.

Health funds providing benefits for natural therapies