With 37 private health insurers (PHI) available to Australians which provide a wide range of policies and access to health services, 2017-2018 has seen a national reform reviewing the PHI rules and the inclusion of services.

As the new PHI rules are proposed and opened to the public for consultation, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) continues to strongly advocate for an independent exercise physiology category.

“Through ESSA’s advocacy efforts and the recommended changes, ESSA is confident that as of April 2019, exercise physiology services will be removed from natural therapies,” says Alex Lawrence, ESSA Policy and Advocacy Officer.

“This will provide more Australians with access to private health insurance that covers their exercise physiology services.”

Exercise physiology services are available to PHI members through their ancillary or extras cover, however, each PHI is different and therefore, the benefits available to the individual will vary. This is also based on the level of policy cover an individual takes out with the PHI.

The importance of including exercise as a cornerstone of effective chronic disease care has been well-established in clinical research. Despite this, accredited exercise physiology services are currently under-represented in lower tier PHI polices.

“Access to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist is a basic right and should not be restricted to those with top tier health insurance! It makes sense in the long run – it will save everyone money, both the PHIs and the consumers,” adds Mr Lawrence.

A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics identified the financial benefits of engaging with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP). The report determined that exercise interventions delivered by AEPs are both effective and highly cost effective for Australians living with complex chronic disease:

 

·         On average, the overall benefit for Australians receiving accredited exercise physiology interventions is estimated to be $6,562 (per person, per year),

·         with a net benefit of $5,938 (overall benefit minus the cost of treatment),

·         a benefit to cost ratio of 10.5 (for every AUD spent the consumer will receive a $10.50 return), and

·         approximately 25% of direct out-of-pocket expenses saved.

 

ESSA remains in frequent contact with several private health funds as well as staying abreast of the reform changes to better inform AEPs and their consumers.

If you believe having access to accredited exercise physiology services is a basic health need, sign ESSA’s petition on the Active Nation’s website. Consumers can also download this editable letter to contact their PHI and express their concerns with the current level of benefits afforded to accredited exercise physiology (AEP) services within their policy.

 

For more information on ESSA’s advocacy to PHI, please visit the Active Nation website.

 

To contact your local accredited exercise professional, visit the ESSA website.