Is remedial massage covered by health insurance

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Updated 30/12/2022

This guide will help you understand what you need to know about remedial massage therapy, and how you can have your treatment costs subsidised.

Is remedial massage covered by health insurance

Appointments with your chiropractor can cost around $60-95 without private health cover.

Private health insurance for remedial massage

Are you suffering from any aches in your body? Still recovering from an injury? It might be time for you to undergo massage therapy.

Massage therapy is known as one of the oldest healing traditions. It involves moving, holding, and applying pressure to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to improve a person’s health or wellbeing.

It’s a broad term used to describe a multitude of techniques that vary in application. Remedial massage is one of these techniques, and is one of the more common treatments covered under health fund extras policies.

But what exactly is remedial massage therapy, and how can it help remedy muscle or joint pain?

This guide will help you understand what you need to know about this treatment, and how you can have your treatment costs subsidised.

Key Points

  • Remedial massage can help people manage pain from injuries.

  • Massage treatments have many benefits.

  • You can get health cover for remedial massage.

  • Remedial massage treatments are usually covered in your health insurance extras policy.


What is remedial massage?

Remedial massage is a natural therapy that involves the systematic assessment and rehabilitation of tendons, muscles, and ligaments. 

It’s done by a remedial massage therapist or physiotherapist applying pressure and manipulating specific areas of the body. It’s used to manage pain from damaged parts of the body, or to restore normal muscle functionality. 

Remedial massage includes a variety of techniques, depending on the patient’s needs. Some of them include deep tissue massage, myofascial release therapy, lymphatic drainage, and trigger point therapy.

What are the benefits of remedial massage?

Remedial massage has several physical health benefits. It can repair tissue injuries, improve joint mobility, decrease muscle tension, increase blood circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system, and reduce stress hormones.

You can benefit from this treatment if you have muscle cramps, chronic joint pain, sports and dancing injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatic pain, arthritis, fibrositis, and other ailments of a similar nature.

What are the costs of remedial massage?

It depends on the type of massage. Remedial massage counts as healthcare because it is a type of physiotherapy done to treat certain ailments. 

It is different from a spa massage done for relaxation. Remedial or sports massage appointments can cost up to $260 per session. Relaxation massages average around $110 per appointment**. 

How much can I claim for remedial massage?

This depends on your fund’s extras policy. There are two ways that your rebate may be calculated. Either, as:

  • A set amount or rebated payment per visit, or

  • A percentage of the total cost of your massage.

Each health fund sets their own limits for this therapy. Some bundle all their extras benefits into a lump sum so that you can choose what you can use it for, while others have a set claim limit for each category (e.g. optical, dental, or remedial massage, etc.).

Most extras annual limits run from January to December. Once you’ve used up the allocated amount for the year, your benefit limit will be reached.

This means that you will have to wait until next year to claim again and pay fully out of pocket for any further treatments over your capped amount.


Is remedial massage covered by health insurance?

Since 2019, remedial massage is the only massage treatment covered by Australian private health funds^^. Most private health funds cover remedial massage under their extras policy.

If you have extras cover under your private health insurance, and remedial massage is a covered service you can get a health fund rebate by swiping your private health card in your massage therapist’s HICAPS machine. 

A percentage of your remedial massage costs may be covered by your private health insurer under your extras policy.

Insurers will only cover services from registered remedial massage therapists, so make sure you check your therapist’s qualifications beforehand.

Is massage considered healthcare?

It depends on the type of massage. Remedial massage counts as healthcare because it is a type of physiotherapy done to treat certain ailments.

It is different from a spa massage done for relaxation, which you can’t claim back on your health insurance.

Is remedial massage covered under Medicare?

No, Medicare does not cover massage therapy. People eligible for a Chronic Disease Management Plan may get a Medicare rebate with five allied health service visits annually, which may include physiotherapy services, if considered medically necessary by a doctor. 

Does private health insurance cover lymphatic massage?

Lymphatic massage is a gentle massage that drains the lymph from the body tissue. Gentle pressure is used to mobilise fluid to the lymphatic areas, along with varying degrees of pressure in actual sites such as the pelvis, neck, armpit, chest, or groin region. 

Fortunately, if your private health fund provides cover for remedial massage, then you may also be covered for lymphatic drainage massage when performed by a remedial massage therapist.

How do I find a policy that covers my remedial massage treatments?

The best way to find out what is and isn’t included, as well as get a great health insurance package, is by comparing health funds with Compare Club.

Our team of health insurance experts will scour our panel of trusted Australian health insurers` to find the top policies for your particular circumstances.

Our specialists have saved customers an average of $300* on annual premiums in the last year alone, by finding better value cover.

We’ll find a  great value policy to suit your needs, and handle all the paperwork. Make the switch and save today.

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This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

*Based on 136,746 customers between 1 Jan 2018 - 23 December 2022. 
^^Blys, Massage Therapy and Health Funds: what you can and can't claim, 10 Aug 2022.
**OneFlare, How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost, Dec 2022
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.

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Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance