The NHAA is at the forefront of the campaign to have private health fund rebates reinstated for naturopathy and herbal medicine.
Since April 2019, private health insurers have been banned from issuing rebates for naturopathy and herbal medicine, along with many other natural therapies.
The NHAA campaigned hard for a review of this decision, which was announced shortly after the ban came into force.
We continue our dialogue with Federal health policy makers and are playing an active role in the review itself.
After a flawed review process in 2014/15, the Federal Government added Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine to a list of therapies that private health funds were banned from covering – regardless of patient demand and the benefits our therapies bring to the healthcare system as a whole.
Along with the disruption and uncertainty this has brought to our members, the NHAA believes patient safety is now more at risk from fake naturopaths because private health companies can no longer perform their quasi-regulatory role.
Previously, private health companies only issued provider numbers to practitioners who are registered with a professional association such as the NHAA – ensuring they are highly qualified, have first aid skills, professional development and insurance.
Without the health funds enforcing safety standards, fake naturopaths are on a level playing field with trained professionals.
There is significant community support for our position. More than 12,000 people signed our Change.org petition calling on the Federal Government to remove naturopathy and western herbal medicine from the list of banned therapies.
In early 2019, NHAA President David Casteleijn led our delegation to Canberra to meet with health department officials and make our case, while NHAA members wrote to their local MPs with their concerns.
The changes to private health insurance came into effect in April 2019 as planned, however a review was announced shortly afterwards.
The Natural Therapies Review 2019/20
The review, now well underway, is looking at the evidence to support certain therapies, that has emerged since the original review was undertaken in 2014-2015.
The review is looking at the therapies in two tranches, with Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine going in the first tranche along with Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and Shiatsu.
The NHAA has welcomed the inclusion of the University of Technology Sydney’s Associate Professor Jon Wardle on the panel, as well as the decision to take into account the views of those who benefit from natural therapies – the public.
As a founding member of the Australian Naturopathic Council, the NHAA has made a detailed submission to the review.
We will continue to work hard for NHAA members and their clients to make the case for private health rebates to be reinstated.