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2019 Reforms FAQs

We believe the Australian Government’s changes to private health insurance are some of the biggest since 2000. They are designed to keep your premiums as low as possible and make private health insurance easier to compare and clearer for everyone.

All hospital covers in Australia will soon be categorised as either Basic, Bronze, Silver or Gold. The intent of these reforms is to make it easier for you to understand and compare covers from all health funds. On our side, RBHS has accommodated these changes with the smallest possible disruption to you, our valued member.

As always, we are committed to giving all our members the highest levels of service, great value health cover and making health cover as easy as possible. 

Is RBHS hospital cover now categorised as Basic, Bronze, Silver or Gold?

RBHS’s hospital cover is categorised as Gold under the Federal Government’s reforms to private health insurance. Gold is the highest level of hospital cover available.

As it stands, there are no regulated categories of extras (also called ‘ancillary’) cover. Therefore it still remains challenging for Australians to compare extras covers. However, RBHS members can be reassured that they get an incredible 90% back on most extras services and generous annual limits. This is why your Extras Cover has been renamed Premium Extras.

Which natural therapies are no longer covered?

The new government rules mean that most natural therapies can no longer be covered on private health insurance from 1 April 2019.

This is the full list of natural therapies to be taken out of private health insurance by the government: Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, Western herbalism, homoeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.

For RBHS members, these are the changes to the natural therapies benefits on our Premium Extras cover from 1 April 2019:

Bowen therapy, naturopathy consultations, Western herbalism, homeopathy, Pilates, reflexology and yoga will no longer be covered as part of the government’s changes.

RBHS still pays benefits for remedial massage and acupuncture available on our Premium Extras cover.

Is RBHS offering the youth discount?

One of the optional government reforms is that health funds can offer age-based discounts from 1 April 2019 for 18-29 year olds. 

RBHS does not have any plans to offer a youth discount right now. We will let you know if we decide to have any age-based discounts in the future.

What are the new travel benefits for rural members?

Health funds can now offer travel and accommodation benefits on hospital cover. These benefits are most useful to rural Australians who need to travel long distances for hospital services.

Hospital cover already provides accommodation support for parents of hospitalised children. Additionally, RBHS has a largely urban-based membership; at this time the RBHS will not be offering additional travel benefits on hospital cover. 

What are the new excess options?

From 1 April 2019, health funds are able to raise the highest excess available from $500 to $750. 
RBHS currently has nil excess on its Gold hospital cover and we will let you know in future if we offer new excess options.

What are the changes to Private Health Insurance information?

There are two small changes in health insurance information provided to consumers.

  1. A re-design of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman comparison website privatehealth.gov.au.
  2. An easier to read Private Health Information Statement (PHIS) replaces the current Standard Information Statement available. You can request your PHIS from 1 April 2019 from your health fund or via privatehealth.gov.au.

What new powers does the Ombudsman have?

Health fund members have the right to take complaints about their health fund cover and service to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO, sometimes also called the Commonwealth Ombudsman). 

The two new measures for the PHIO are:

  1. Audit and inspection powers to address consumer complaints; and
  2. More staff at the Ombudsman, who’ll investigate complaints for consumers