Health Insurance For Acupuncture

Updated 15/01/2024

Acupuncture is not covered by Medicare. However, private health insurers are beginning to recognise that acupuncture can have a wide range of health benefits.

Health Insurance For Acupuncture

Acupuncture being performed

Compare The Best Private Health Insurance Policies For Acupuncture

Key Points

  • Acupuncture falls under traditional Chinese medicine, so it’s not covered by Medicare.

  • If your health fund is one of those providing cover for acupuncture treatments, you’ll find this listed under the natural therapies section of their extras cover.

  • The waiting period for all ‘natural therapies’ extras - including acupuncture - is normally 2 months.

If you’ve ever had acupuncture, you already know its potential to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. Acupuncture falls under traditional Chinese medicine, so it’s not covered by Medicare.

However, private health insurers are beginning to recognise that acupuncture can reduce stress, anxiety, muscle tension, high blood pressure and assist with the management of chronic illnesses.

COMPARE & SAVE

What type of health insurance covers acupuncture?

If your health fund is one of those providing cover for acupuncture treatments, you’ll find this listed under the natural therapies section of their extras cover.

The treatment may not be included in the lower levels of extras cover - this will depend on your specific health fund, but extras that includes acupuncture can be available from less than $15* a month. Note that this amount will vary with your specific health cover needs.

"If you are getting acupuncture frequently, extras cover can reduce the out of pocket costs you pay for your treatments." - Andrew Huynh, ESPR Therapy & Training

What is the waiting period for acupuncture health fund claims? 

The waiting period for all ‘natural therapies’ extras - including acupuncture - is normally 2 months, but it’s possible to switch to a new policy and have your previously served waiting periods recognised.

How much does acupuncture cost?

The cost of acupuncture is determined by your acupuncturist and depends on:

  • the length of your treatment;

  • the popularity of practitioner;

  • whether your treatment is ongoing, or only requires one or two consults.

The number of treatments that you will need is determined at the initial session, and depends on your condition and overall health. Most acupuncturists charge more for your initial consultation (between $80-$150 is fairly standard).

You’ll find your follow-up visits will be cheaper ($30-$100), depending on your specific condition, the expertise of your practitioner, and your clinic’s location. 

Acupuncture treatment tends to incorporate any diagnostic and testing costs into your overall treatment cost, though additional remedies like herbal supplements may attract additional charges.

What is acupuncture?

Taken from ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a natural therapy that aims to treat various troubling conditions via inserting needles beneath your skin. It’s long been known as an effective pain and nausea treatment. Physiotherapists often employ acupuncture in their treatments, and some GPs use it as well as specialist acupuncturists. 

The use of the needles stimulates your nerves, triggering hormone releases in your brain that help you heal more quickly, and feel healthier sooner. Your acupuncturist will insert thin needles into your skin at strategic points around your body. Each needle is positioned to have the most impact on your condition, drawing on your practitioner’s knowledge of the nervous system.

Are there different prices for different kinds of acupuncture?

There are different types of acupuncture treatment for patients experiencing different ailments. For example, the acupuncture treatment for a sore shoulder is not the same as that for a patient suffering from morning sickness.

The differences in treatments can affect the cost, as per the average costs below:

Back pain treatments

$90

Migraine therapy

$64

Stop smoking treatments

$130

Weight loss treatments

$200

Fertility treatments

$190

Discuss the costs with your practitioner upfront, and then confirm your cover with your health fund.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to treat: 

  • migraine prophylaxis,

  • neck pain,

  • dental pain,

  • weight loss,

and a range of other health conditions. 

In recent years acupuncture has also been effective as a treatment for stress, anxiety, addiction and a broad swathe of chronic mental health conditions. There's also quite a lot of evidence that acupuncture can alleviate muscular pain and complaints related to your nervous system. Better Health Victoria recommends acupuncture as a proven treatment for:

  • Jawbone pain.

  • Mouth pain (such as gum tenderness and toothache).

  • Managing your nausea after operations, including cancer treatments.

There’s also a growing acceptance that acupuncture can be beneficial in managing:

  • Back pain

  • Osteoarthritis and knee pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.

COMPARE & SAVE

Sources

Natural Therapy Pages

Frequently asked questions

Does private health insurance cover acupuncture?

There are almost 14 million Australians holding private health insurance, and many of these policies include extras cover. This is where you’ll find acupuncture (usually listed under ‘natural therapies’) - or not.

Not all funds will cover acupuncture therapies in all extras policies. This depends on the level of extras cover you have, and also your provider. If your fund doesn’t offer an extras policy that covers acupuncture, and it’s a therapy that benefits your health, consider switching to a health fund that does. There are over half a dozen health insurers that offer rebates for acupuncture. 

Most health insurers cover acupuncture under their various levels of extras cover.

Does my health insurance cover acupuncture?

The best way to find out if your health fund covers acupuncture is to ask your provider or look into your extras policy under ‘natural therapies’. Definitely check this out before booking in your appointment, so you’re not caught out by an unexpected invoice.

As acupuncture gains more support as a beneficial treatment, it’s likely more health funds will cover it, and hopefully with greater rebate amounts as well.

Can acupuncture be covered by Medicare?

Acupuncture isn’t covered by Medicare unless your acupuncturist is also a registered General Practitioner (GP).

How much does acupuncture cost without insurance?

Depending on what specific type of acupuncture treatment you require, and how long your treatment is expected to last, an acupuncture therapy session can cost upwards of $200 per session.

Out-of-pocket costs can be over $100 per session if you don’t have insurance. Costs will vary based on where you live, what the treatment is for, and other factors.

Disclaimer

This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions. # Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers. We do not compare all products in the market.




Chris Stanley is the sales & operations manager of health insurance at Compare Club. With extensive experience and expertise, Chris is a trusted leader known for his deep understanding of health insurance markets, policies, and coverage options. As the sales & operations manager of health insurance, Chris leads a team of dedicated professionals committed to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their health insurance needs.

author image

Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance