Health insurance reform passes the Senate

Health insurance reform passes the Senate

On Monday 10 September 2018 the current Governments’ health insurance reform laws were passed by the Senate. It will now be a straightforward process for those laws to be in place by 01 April 2019.


The next step will see the Minister for Health finalise and publish the supporting Business Rules that are part of his reform laws.


It is in these supporting Business Rules that the deliberate and intentional harm to natural medicine modalities is found. The draft proposal released in July 2018 is to make 17 natural medicine modalities ineligible to be covered within the private health insurance system (see separate listing below).


At the time of this Wise ‘n Well publication, those Business Rules have not yet been formally made, but all indications are that the draft of these Business Rules will soon become the law.


Despite the best efforts of all those advocating for natural medicine, it appears that this final list of modalities will no longer be covered by private health insurance, as from 01 April 2019.


ATMS views this as fundamentally a bad public policy. There will be a demonstrably poorer outcome for the health and well being of Australians as a result.


As soon as the Business Rules are finalised, ATMS will further advise all members.


The current draft of the Business Rules are as follows:

Private Health Insurance (Health Insurance Business) Rules 2018 (DRAFT as at July 2018)

Natural therapy treatment means any of the following treatments:

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

What happens now?

Practicing natural medicine in a post reform world

Practicing natural medicine remains perfectly legal and viable within Australia.

Remedial Massage, Myotherapy, Nutrition, Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture Chinese Herbal Medicine), Osteopathy and Chiropractic treatments all remain within private health insurance. Each health fund will continue to make its own recognition rules for these treatments.

ATMS urges all members who have recognised provider numbers with health insurance funds maintain their current ATMS membership. This will ensure that all issues relating to health insurance fund recognition over the transfer date of 01 April 2019 are covered professionally. There will inevitably be a period of profound change for the modalities that will no longer be covered.

Successful practice of natural medicine in Australia has always operated in a privately funded market, and can continue to do so.

Maintaining professional Association Accreditation with ATMS is a key component to successfully practicing in a private market.