News and Research

What do the health fund reforms mean for Bowen therapists?

In October 2017, the Australian Federal Government announced major changes to health insurance coming into effect from 1st April, 2019.

Private health insurance will no longer cover natural therapies including aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi and yoga.

The government’s information sheet Changing coverage for some natural therapies states: “This move comes after a recent review by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer found that there was no clear evidence of the efficacy of these therapies.” (

How will this affect Bowen Therapists?

  • You can still practice Bowen therapy, and clients can still use your service, but a rebate for Bowen therapy will no longer be available to your clients.
  • The changes will apply from 1st April 2019.
  • Rules will be made to remove natural therapies from the definition of general treatment under section 121-10 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007. Insurers will then not be able to offer benefits for these therapies as part of a complying health insurance policy.
  • Insurers can offer incentives to purchasers of private health insurance, as long as the incentives meet the requirements of the Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Rules. These incentives could include services provided by a natural therapist. It will be up to each insurer to decide whether to offer this type of incentive.
  • Consumers will still be able to choose to access these natural therapies outside the private health insurance system.

Read the government’s Facts Sheets on private health insurance reforms.

What is the BTFA doing?

  • We will be monitoring and keeping you up to date on this issue as information becomes available.
  • We will continue to be a peak association that represents Bowen therapy to government and the wider public.
  • We will continue to support our national membership and ensure that our members retain a high standard of professionalism, with a nationally-recognised qualification in Bowen therapy, professional indemnity and public liability insurance, first aid and annual CPE points.
  • The BTFA is proactively working to seek and fund appropriate research into the efficacy of Bowen therapy. Alongside this we will be developing marketing strategies to increase visibility and awareness of the effectiveness of Bowen therapy.

What can BTFA members do?

  • We strongly urge all of our members, their clients, family and friends to sign the online petition at Your Health, Your Choice to protect your right of choice in healthcare. The petition calls for a Senate Inquiry into bias against natural therapies and why Government-funded reports have ignored positive evidence.
  • We urge you to become as informed and involved as you can.
  • We also recommend each member contribute case studies via our template form for research efficacy. Using this form ensures every therapist is looking at the same information in the same way.

~ The BTFA Board

Further reading

Health insurance reform to make ‘winners and losers’ – Sydney Morning Herald 11/10/18
Science fact or fiction? Senate exposes NHMRC did not use accepted scientific methods – Your Health, Your Choice website 20/09/18
Private Health Insurance ‘excluding benefits under the radar’
– Sydney Morning Herald 04/08/18
Private health insurance rankings to give consumers more information about coverage and benchmarks – ABC online 15/07/18

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