What you need to know

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The changes will make policies cheaper for young people by introducing a premium discount worth 2 per cent per year for each year they belong to a health fund before turning 30, up to a maximum of 10 per cent. This will be phased out gradually by the time they turn 40.

It’s unclear whether the discount applies to under 30s who already have cover so it’s worth checking with your current insurer and to consider changing policies.

You won’t be able to claim for pilates or yoga

According to The Daily Telegraph, rebates for unproven natural therapies will be banned. Those on the chopping block include Alexander technique, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homoeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.

Better mental health cover

Even policies classified as Basic will be covered for mental health services, which many policies currently don’t cover.

Consumers who already have a policy will also be able to upgrade their cover to access in-hospital mental health services without a waiting period.

Insurers also won’t be able to limit the number of sessions or treatments a patient can access.

New rural health product

Travel and accommodation benefits will be included under hospital cover for those taking up a new rural health product.

You’ll be able to increase your excess to reduce premiums

The cap on excesses (the extra money people agree to pay if they go to hospital or have other expensive procedures like dental) will be lifted to $750 from $500 for singles and to $1500 from $1000 for families.

This could see policies becoming a bit cheaper.

Price rises should decrease

For those who already have cover, you have been slugged with premium rises of about 5-6 per cent in the past few years.

The reforms hope to get this down to about 3 per cent.

Crackdown on prostheses and medical devices

The government is cracking down on the exorbitant amount of money health funds are paying for prostheses like hip and knee replacements.

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