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Health Insurance Changes Commence on 1st April 2019
1 January 2018
30 November 2020
8.61 minutes

The Australian Government will implement new rules to assist consumers to make a more informed decision about Private Health Insurance from the 1st April 2019.  The changes have been designed to make it easier for customers to choose the best type of private health insurance cover for them and their families.

Basic cover, Bronze, Silver, Gold

Private Health Insurance companies will start implementing the new hospital cover changes from the 1st of April 2019.  The changes will become mandatory on the 1st of April 2020. All hospital insurance policies will be classified as Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic. 

Private health insurers have one year, from 1 April 2019, to implement the new laws.  Existing health insurance policies will automatically change into one of the new layers mentioned above (between now and the1st April 2020.

If you have a Private Health Insurance policy, your company must send you information about how the changes will impact your policy. 

Other Changes to Health Insurance Policies

The Private Health Insurance Amendments encourage insurance companies to offer the following:

  • Discounted rates for young people aged between 18 and 29,
  • People will be allowed to choose to pay Higher “excesses” in exchange for Lower insurance premiums,
  • Travel and lodging reimbursements for people that must travel long distances for hospital treatment,
  • Additional mental health treatment options by permitting people to upgrade their hospital coverage without the need to re-serve a waiting period

Important change to all Health Insurance Policies

Private Health Insurance Companies will no longer be able to offer benefits for most Natural/Complimentary therapies as part of their ‘extras’ policies. 

From the 1st April 2019, the following 16 Natural/Complimentary therapies will not be covered under any Private Health Insurance Policy:

  • Alexander Technique      
  • Aromatherapy
  • Kinesiology                       
  • Yoga
  • Shiatsu                              
  • Homoeopathy
  • Rolfing                              
  • Naturopathy
  • Pilates                               
  • Reflexology
  • Bowen therapy                
  • Buteyko
  • Western Herbalism          
  • Feldenkrais
  • Iridology                          
  • Tai Chi

Natural/Complimentary therapies that remain unchanged

Chinese Medicine, Remedial Massage and Acupuncture will not be impacted by the changes to Private Health Insurance.  People can continue seeing practitioners working in the above three types of therapies as per normal.

For more detailed information about the changes please click on the overview of the new reforms link that will take you to the Australian Government Department of Health website.

For those of you that want to read the Amendments to the Private Health Insurance Act, please click on the link below to access the Australian Government Federal Register of Legislation website: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019C00017

What to do if you are having problems with your Private Health Insurer?

The Commonwealth Ombudsman protects the interests of Private Health Insurance customers. If you have any complaints or other concerns the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman has been given new powers to investigate and assist you. Please click on the above link that will take you to the website of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

It is important for you to keep in mind that Private Health Insurance companies will start implementing the new hospital cover changes from the 1st of April 2019.  The changes will become mandatory on the 1st of April 2020. The Health Workers Union will continue to update you about the changes to our Private Health Insurance system.

Kamal Bekhazi

Senior Research & Projects Officer

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