President’s Report – April 2019

Private Health Insurance (PHI) update

As you are all aware the Private Health Insurance (PHI) changes came into effect today and clients will no longer be able to claim a health fund rebate for Pilates sessions.

The PAA have been working to stop the implementation of this Rule and have found support from several MPs, including Dr Kerryn Phelps who has written to Minister for Health, Greg Hunt in support of retaining rebates for Pilates, Yoga and several other natural therapies. We will continue to work towards the recognition of Pilates on many fronts.

However, for Pilates instructors the Rule is clear – Pilates sessions are not eligible for rebates.

Some PAA members are also physiotherapists and can include Pilates informed/based exercises in Physio rehab classes and be eligible for a health fund rebate, however must follow the guidelines below:

The Department of Health circular PHI 69/18
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-phicircular2018-69

Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) guidelines and advice to physiotherapists
https://australian.physio/advocacy/phi-pilates-reform

Pilates classes and sessions conducted by Physiotherapists are NOT eligible for a rebate.

The Minister for Health’s office indicated AHPRA would be responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of breeches of the guidelines. The individual Health Funds will also be closely monitoring the implementation of these changes to ensure all providers comply.

Possible impact of the reforms

The increased costs of Private Health Insurance cover with seemingly reduced coverage and benefits is a concern for most Australians. For many Pilates clients the PHI rebate was a way of getting the most from their insurance cover and not a key factor in attending Pilates classes. Clients now have the freedom to determine the best path for their own health and are not restricted by health fund red tape and hoops to jump thru to claim $100- $200 rebate.

We have had diverse feedback from members about the possible impact the PHI changes will have for their business, ranging from struggling due to competition from physio led classes to others not even blinking as clients have never claimed and it is not part of their marketing plan.

As Pilates instructors we all still firmly believe the Pilates Method is an amazing form of exercise, rehabilitation, prevention and wellness – this hasn’t changed! This disruption has brought Pilates into the spotlight and is an opportunity to inform and educate your clients and the public – why you believe in Pilates, what it has done for you and your many clients.

Share the current research and your own case studies and success stories to educate your clients and broader audience.

Be proud to teach Pilates and offer Pilates classes, this is our profession!

 

Sharan Simmons

PAA President

ABC News story

Recently, I provided background information and was interviewed for an ABC news story by health reporter, Sophie Scott. The story – Rebate Cuts aired on ABC evening news, on Saturday 30 March. You can check it out here https://iview.abc.net.au/show/abc-news-nsw, select episode Sat 30 March and skip to the 14 min mark.

My comments were not included, however the following positive points for Pilates did appear in the program:

  • Dr Kerryn Phelps, MP mentioned that the evidence used for the decision to reform was 5 years old and out of date and called for a review now.
  • Dr Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer said there would be a review of the changes next year and that any significant new evidence should be sent to the Department of Health when the process starts.
  • Dr Rachel David, CEO Private Healthcare Australia supports Pilates and Yoga as suitable interventions for particular conditions.

An ABC article was also produced by the same team https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-30/yoga-pilates-naturopathy-hit-with-private-health-rebate-ban/10920770

Note that, although it is not stated in this article, we received notification that Dr Kerryn Phelps also included Pilates in her letter to Greg Hunt asking that it be removed from the banned list.