The 2012-2013 Federal budget included proposed changes to the regulatory framework of private health insurance and announced a review of the PHI rebate for natural therapies. For practitioners, this meant the eligibility of various modalities would be reviewed to ascertain if the Government should continue to subsidise health fund rebates for those with PHI. I.e. patients may no longer be able to claim for services such as naturopathy and herbal medicine from their private health insurer.
The stated aim of the review is to identity which natural therapies are underpinned by an evidence base and can continue to be subsidised by the rebate. It is expected that any changes resulting from the review will be implemented from January 2014.
The review is being conducted by an Advisory Committee that includes representatives from the natural therapy industry, private health insurers, registered health professionals, consumers and clinical experts. Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Medical Officer for the Dept of Health & Ageing, will chair the committee and oversee the review.
Evidence provided in submissions will be assessed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) who will also be conducting a comprehensive literature review of the modalities and will provide its findings to the Advisory Committee.