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Reviewed and updated 1 April 2024

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy uses manual therapies like massage, manipulation, stretching and exercise programs to treat:

  • musculoskeletal conditions:
    • arthritis
    • back pain
    • sports injuries
  • neurological conditions:
    • multiple sclerosis
    • spinal cord injuries 
    • stroke
  • cardio-thoracic conditions
    • asthma
    • emphysema
    • chronic bronchitis.

Physiotherapists work with you to reduce pain and stiffness, speed up the healing process and improve movement.


Is Physiotherapy a regulated profession in Australia? 

Yes. In Australia, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Physiotherapy Board of Australia regulate Physiotherapists.


Does private health insurance cover Physiotherapy?

If private health insurance covers Physiotherapy, it falls under:

Ask your insurer whether your Hospital Cover and Extras Cover include Physiotherapy.

If so, check whether Physiotherapy is subject to:

  • a waiting period before you can make a claim
  • per claim limits 
  • annual limits.

If I have Extras Cover that includes Physiotherapy, can I see any Physiotherapist?

No. To be covered, your Physiotherapist must be a member of an Australian peak body or professional organisation. They must also have approval to be registered under the state and territory laws where they operate.

In addition, your health insurer can decide whether or not to cover treatments from a particular provider.

Some insurers may require you to see a Physiotherapist who is one of their recognised providers only.

Before seeking treatment, always check with your health insurer that you are covered.


Does Medicare cover Physiotherapy?

Yes. Medicare covers Physiotherapy but only in certain situations, including: 

You:

  • have a chronic condition and complex care needs, or
  • live in an aged care facility, or
  • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent

and:

  • your GP recommends Physiotherapy services
  • the consultation lasts at least 20 minutes
  • you receive no more than 5 services in a calendar year.

Medicare may also cover Physiotherapy for the diagnosis and treatment of a developmental disorder or other disability for a person under the age of 25.


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