Changes to private health insurance for Bowen Therapy

Earlier this year the health minister announced changes to private health insurance for “natural” therapies. This includes Bowen Therapy. You may not know this as the announcement was made on a Friday in amongst a raft of other health department announcements.

Essentially, the government wants to remove natural therapies from health insurance policies on which they pay the 30% government rebate. They set a deadline of April 1st 2019 - yes, April Fool’s Day.

The actual business rules set out by the minister have left some wiggle-room though. The rules only state that policies attracting the 30% rebate cannot include these therapies, not that they can’t be covered at all. The Bowen Association Australia has been communicating directly with the major insurers to lobby for the retention of policies outside the government’s reach. Unfortunately, HBF, a WA-based fund, has already jumped and announced that rebates will not be claimable for Bowen from January 1st 2019.

Cutting these therapies is incredibly short-sighted as most of them are used for preventative health that can help keep people out of the medical system for longer. Unfortunately, this scenario was likely from the moment John Howard introduced his carrot-and-stick approach to forcing the populace into private health care.

What can you do? Contact your private health insurer and tell them how much you value being able to access Bowen Therapy, naturopathy or any of the other modalities that are to be cut from your cover. This is now in the hands of the market. If your insurer drops your cover and someone continues their natural therapies cover, vote with your wallet. The politicians may not have listened (although you can still vote them out too!), but shareholders might.