The government wants to us to pay more for treatments we all need 42



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Massage, yoga and pilates are some of the most common ways we ease our aches and pains but, according to the government, they don’t work.

The Department of Health released its final report from the Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies and declared that the following 17 natural therapies are not “underpinned by a credible evidence base that demonstrates their clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness and safety and quality”.

This means it’s likely these treatments and therapies will be stripped of the government-funded rebate and will consequently go up in price, even for those who are already paying private health insurance.

The 17 natural therapies that were under scrutiny in the review are:

  • Alexander Technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • Buteyko therapy
  • Feldenkrais
  • Herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Massage therapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates
  • Reflexology
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

“In most cases the quality of the overall body of evidence was not sufficient to enable definite conclusions to be drawn about the clinical effectiveness of the therapies,” the report says.

“For a few modalities (Alexander technique, massage, tai chi, yoga) there was evidence, which was graded as low to moderate quality, that these natural therapies may improve certain health outcomes for a limited number of clinical conditions.”

Currently, if you have private health insurance you receive a government rebate of up to 39 per cent  to help cover the cost of your premiums. But the popularity of natural therapies has been increasing rapidly. Choice reports that over the past 10 years, benefits paid for natural therapies have increased 345 per cent.

Do you use natural any of these natural therapies? Will you still be able to afford them if the rebate is no longer applied? 

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  1. No I dont do any of it. Have thought about it though. Not now but years ago after a back injury.
    At one time I was a Shiatsu practitioner until I fractured my arm and never got back to it.
    Surely it is up to the individual patient to decide whether these therapies work for them or not?

    4 REPLY
    • Individuals can use whatever ‘therapies’ they want but they can’t expect the taxpayer, via private health insurance, to pick up the tab.

    • How does the taxpayer pick up the tab? I pay my taxes too and have private cover for 35 years and use alternate therapies. So, my taxes not anyone else’s pay for my use of alternate therapies. I rarely see a Doctor so I could say the same. Why should my taxes pay for those people who spend every week at the Doctor’s (usually bulk billed.)…

    • Still I pay my taxes and my private health cover. At least I do have cover not like others who don’t! !

  2. I had a chiropractor massage to help my back problem years ago, ended up in hospital on traction. Only good for muscle problems, not spinal.

  3. Pretty much the only kind of medical intervention I have. I might see a doctor once in 10 years but if I have pain I will have a massage, go to an oesteopath, have accupuncture etc. I find it effective in most cases but each are different. I’d be really fed up if my fund did get rid of these ancilliary benefits as they are the only ones I use for my thousands of dollars of coverage each year

  4. As I was born with Scoliosis and now have a number of health issues, I would not be able to walk at all so who the hell do they think they are saying it doesn’t work. This is another VERY GOOD REASON TO DUMP PRIVATE HEALTH, the price is about to rise again and we are already being told there are less benefits well I’ve had enough, I’m not paying thousands of dollars each year if I’m going to have to pay for these services on top of what I’m paying.

    2 REPLY
    • We just ditched the extras today and only have hospital cover.. Health was the biggest cost for us this year with Medicare levy, private health and then ending up paying extra $10,000 from our pockets for husbands cancer operation. Got rid of Medibank Private and joined Health Partners today. Furious

    • I agree Tuula Sinikka K, I have had 4 major surgeries in the past 2 years and my out of pocket costs were over $4000.00, it makes no difference to your surgeon that you hold a full age pension card, it’s pay or go without that’s the attitude and it’s not right, I guess I will be dropping my extras because I can no longer afford to have it.

  5. I use some of these. ..chiropractic homeopathic acupuncture naturopathy massage reiki . Works for me. I have had private health cover for 35 years so I feel I have definitely ‘paid’ for myself for the cover with or without Govt rebates. If they are not included in extras I would have to seriously consider not having extra cover. I rarely go to the Doctors so am not a drain on Medicare plus I have paid my taxes & medicare bit over 35 years. Seems wrong that the Govt decides what health care people can have our not have.

  6. Not everything is covered by Medicare or PBS or now it seems private health. My husbands medication for Dystonia costs $85.00 a month. It is called Repreve. We can claim for about 8 months on our Bupa cover. Refund is about $40.00 from memory but once our limit is reached we can not claim until the next year. Nothing much we can do about it. $40.00 is better than nothing. Apparently not much hope of it ever being on PBS as it is not a common medication.

  7. Homeopathy is a crock, no scientific proof. Taxpayers shouldn’t fund it. However, massage and acupuncture/acupressure can be very useful therapies. There should not be a blanket ban like this.

    2 REPLY
    • Homeopathy has been used for many many years in other countries including England and India. There are even hospitals just using homeopathy. Queen Elizabeth also uses it.

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