Pilates and Private Health Rebates – What’s the story?

Pip Jarvis
pilates reformer exercise

Looking to lengthen, strengthen or rehabilitate your body and wondering whether you can claim private health rebates for Pilates? Due to recent regulatory changes to Natural Therapies cover, the answer, unfortunately, is no. As of 1 April 2019, Pilates—alongside yoga, naturopathy and reflexology—is no longer rebatable under any private health insurance extras policy.

Don’t despair, however, as you may still be able to receive rebates for therapeutic group exercise that incorporates Pilates techniques. Confused? Let us explain how it works.

Changes to Natural Therapies cover

Recent government reform to private health insurance has seen the removal of 17 items previously listed under Natural Therapies. As well as Pilates, therapies including homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology, iridology, shiatsu and yoga have been removed from extras policies.

The changes came into effect 1 April 2019, with the Department of Health stating there is insufficient evidence of the efficacy of the excluded therapies.

Clinical Pilates & Private Health Rebates

Prior to April, you may have seen advertising around physiotherapist-led Clinical Pilates classes. Where private health insurance rebates were previously available for these sessions, this is no longer the case. Benefits cannot be paid for any session consisting solely of Pilates exercises, regardless of who is delivering it (instructor or physiotherapist).

Clinical Rehabilitation & Private Health Rebates

While Pilates is excluded, the Department of Health does consider “an insurer may lawfully pay benefits if a physiotherapist, providing services to a patient within the accepted scope of clinical practice, uses exercises or techniques drawn from Pilates as part of that patient’s treatment as long as the exercises or techniques are within the accepted scope of clinical practice.”

We offer this form of evidence-based therapeutic group exercise at The Alignment Studio. Drawing on Pilates principles, our Clinical Rehab classes are rebatable under private health physiotherapy cover. These active rehabilitation sessions:

  • are designed, structured and led by a physiotherapist
  • are conducted only following a comprehensive individual physiotherapy assessment with each client
  • are highly individualised, meaning each client has a personalised program tailored to their biomechanics, pathology and unique movement goals
  • allow clients with injury, pain or dysfunction to engage in a dynamic and personalised rehabilitation program
  • include the use of Pilates techniques and equipment (for example reformers, magic circles, foam rollers, spine correctors)
  • require regular reviews to monitor progress and therapeutic outcomes
  • are the safe way to benefit from a clinically-appropriate movement practice

To get started on your rehabilitation journey, call us on 9650 2220 to discuss our QuickStart Clinical Rehab Program. Or, if you are interested in Pilates classes in Melbourne CBD (non-rebatable), check out our Express Reformer and Studio Pilates classes.

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