Health Reform

Government to Spend $2 million Reviewing Effectiveness of Natural Therapies

The Minister for Health Greg Hunt has announced the Liberal Federal Government will be investing up to $2 million to support an updated review for Natural Therapies and Alternative Medicines. The updated review will ascertain whether certain natural therapies should be eligible for subsidy through the private health insurance rebate.

The last review was conducted in 2014-2015 and concluded 17 natural therapies offered through health insurance hadn’t been proven to work on patients. The therapies found unproven to work were:

  • Alexander technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • Buteyko
  • Feldenkrais
  • Western herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Iridology
  • Kinesiology
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates
  • Reflexology
  • Rolfing
  • Shiatsu
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

The updated review will be led by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy and will be supported by an advisory panel of experts including Associate Professor of Public Health Jon Wardle from the University of Technology Sydney. In addition to Associate Professor Wardle the advisory panel will include other experts in natural therapies, consumer representatives, and experts in private health insurance, medicine, and allied health.

The private health insurance rebate is an amount the government contributes towards the cost of private health insurance premiums. The rebate can be claimed for premiums paid for a private health insurance policy that provides private patient hospital cover or general cover, commonly known as ‘extras’, or combined hospital and general cover.

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