Posted by Val Allen, PNMC Director & Naturopath – We have been inundated with patients outraged at HBF’s decision to prematurely remove benefits for natural therapies on 1st January.

These changes were to become effective from 1st April, however HBF has decided to cease offering this cover three months earlier despite the fact that the Federal Government is continuing to allocate funds to health funds until April.

HBF members feel that they have been unfairly ripped off and that HBF has been short-sighted in not supporting the natural therapies. Members do their best to stay healthy, giving them a better lifestyle and less dependence on having to resort to costly crisis care claims on HBF and the Medicare system.

Feedback from HBF members is that they are seriously considering dropping their ancillary cover to simply cover hospital benefits only. One of the main reasons for members choosing ancillary cover was the benefit offered for natural therapies. In these difficult economic times, many members are now considering opting out of their HBF health fund altogether.

The background to the removal of natural therapy benefits is that the Federal Government has withdrawn its $30 million allocation to all Health Funds nationally for health services such as Naturopathy*, Pilates etc. having classified these therapies as “unproven”. This is despite the tens of thousands of Australians whose health has improved since these health fund rebates were introduced 17 years ago.

If members don’t express their concerns, HBF will believe that their decision was appropriate and as a result will probably not conduct future reviews of their policy on covering Naturopathy.

We strongly urge you to express your concern by emailing HBF at:


(Don’t forget to include your membership number)

If you are covered by a different Health Fund, it is likely that these funds will also discontinue covering Naturopathy from April 2019. By registering your complaint to your particular fund, members may cause these funds to continue to provide cover for Naturopathy in some form or other.

* Rebates for Acupuncture, Osteopathy and Remedial Therapy will remain