This week, I received a letter from my health insurer specifying the levels of benefit afforded me by my coverage. It’s a regular sort of thing, that covers the limits for various types of health care.
On this letter, as has been standard for many health funds in recent times, it includes my coverage for treatment with naturopathy, accupuncture, and chiropractic. I can claim a combined $400 (subject to sub-limits not specified) for these services, and “remedial massage”. (Now remedial massage sounds like something that might actually work, so I don’t know why it’s bundled in here.) More worrying, is that they also tell me that from June, I will also have coverage for myotherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, homeopathy, herbalism (Chinese and western), Alexander technique, Bowen therapy, aromatherapy, and kinesiology. A veritable cornucopia of quackery.
I don’t want coverage for these things. I’m not even sure I’m comfortable with the idea that my private health insurer (which is wholly owned by the Australian Government, at least so far) covers anyone for these treatments.
The fact that it is almost accepted these days (if not expected, most of the funds cite popular demand for such coverage) that health insurance will cover such unreliable, unproven (if not unprovable) treatments, raises the question of why modern medical procedures need to go through all that pesky testing just to make sure they won’t cause any harm. Quite rightly, new therapeutic treatments need to undergo several levels of experiment and testing to make sure they will a) actually work, and b) not cause any harm. In recent years, the methods and process for such testing has been called into question, plus there has been a reported increase in prescribing “off-label”. (Where a drug is used to treat something not covered by the approved usage.) Now, you would think that this would apply to all treatments, but many have been effectively “grandfathered in”, since they have been in use for so long.
Anyway, I think, before my next premium is due, I may try to discuss this coverage with my insurer. See if there’s any way to get these items excluded (and hopefully reduce my premium).