In Australia, many people are encouraged by the tax and health care system to take out private health insurance. For high income earners, they are penalised by a Medicare Levy if they do not register for suitable cover.
If you take out private health insurance then chances are that you will be offered and will probably take up extras packages which will include some degree of cover for things such as physiotherapy, chiropractors, osteopaths, optical, dental and massage. Currently all of the major health funds in Australia, such as BUPA, HCF, Medibank Private, NIB, Grand United, AHM and Australian Unity offer rebates but generally only for remedial massage (ie other massage modalities may not be eligible for rebates).
Occasionally we are asked to provide recommendations about which fund we believe to the best. As we are in the health profession then people suspect that we will be “in-the-know” and assist them with information that can help them make a decision. Unfortunately this is not the case as the optimum choice of health fund will vary very much depending on the individual circumstances. In addition, the best fund can also change from time to time depending on you and any changes in the terms, rebates and fees of the fund.
In addition, even within a specific health fund the level of cover can differ significantly and the only way to work out which health fund is best for you is to look at your individual position and make an assessment as to the level of cover you require.
To be honest, it is rare that rebates for remedial massage should enter significantly into the calculation as there are many more bigger picture items that are likely to govern the decision making process. For example, do you require family care, obstetrics, joint replacements, etc? The amount you will be covered for and the amount of rebates that you would get will be significantly more important than whether you receive $25 or $28 back on your remedial massage. Whilst it is tempting to consider not opting in for cover for particular items to save a few dollars, be mindful that your health insurance should cover you for what you cannot afford to cover yourself. Although you might not think that you will need a joint replacement in the near future, unfortunately you never know what is just around the corner and adding a few dollars a month may save you from a major decision in the future.
Whilst we do not specifically recommend any particular health fund, I would just like to mention a cool feature that is offered by Australian Unity. If you are a member with them then you can just download their app and whenever you incur a claimable medical charge then all you do is simply send a photo of the receipt and they will automatically transfer the rebate to your account.
Please note that a significant issue with health funds is perceived to be fraudulent claims. Receipts for remedial massage can only issued to a person specifically receiving a remedial massage so if you receive a Swedish/relaxation massage then your therapist will not be able to provide you with a receipt that you can use to claim. Similarly, if your partner is the one getting the massage then we are not allowed to put your name on the receipt, even if you are the one paying for the session.