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Massage and Private Health Insurance

“Do you know how hard it is to find a massage therapist that takes private health cover?” or “Do you take/can I claim the massage on my private health insurance?” It’s a noticeable comment for a client to say that to me. I find it strange this scenario is a common one, a remedial massage or myotherapy business that doesn’t offer private health fund claiming. Either the massage associations aren’t doing a great job to promote us and educate the public or the therapists can’t justify the spend on staying current with association membership costs, insurance, first aid and professional development.

Next common question regarding private health cover is, “Do you know how much will be covered (said health fund)?” Usually the massage therapist can give a rough idea based on what they’ve seen as the benefit amount from previous clients with the same health fund. It really all depends on when you joined and your level of cover. The best thing to do is to call up the health fund or have a check on the website via the member’s portal to see what your limit is for remedial massages or myotherapy. Classification of remedial massage or myotherapy usually comes under the umbrella of “Alternative Therapies” or “Natural Therapies”.

If at the time of treatment you forgot your health fund card, the massage therapist or company can issue you with a receipt with the massage therapist’s provider details. This means you’ll need to claim the rebate online or at the health fund’s office in which they’ll ask you for the receipt. I have asked about manual claiming through the terminal using the client’s membership number but the health funds aren’t able to process such claims.  Go figure considering we’re meant to be advancing with technology and streamlining processes. Anyway, having mentioned technology, I am aware some health funds allow you to claim your rebate via their app without the need for a receipt. All that’s required is for you to look up the massage therapist in the app’s database to make the claim.  Again, not all health funds have that functionality, only some.

Last mini topic I’d like to comment on is the announcement by the Department of Health on private health insurance reforms. The government has culled from the existing list of natural therapies some modalities which will no longer be covered by private health insurance. Notice has been given to all members via their respective health funds about the revised list of covered modalities, and fortunately, remedial massage and myotherapy has not been omitted from each health fund’s list. Having massage and myotherapy covered under private health matters to most, but there is still a recognizable chunk of the population where they will still pay for the complete cost of a massage knowing the benefits outweigh the monetary cost.