Obtaining provider numbers for health insurance funds is not absolutely essential for a qualified massage therapist – but it can help. Put simply, being registered with health fund providers will enable clients with the relevant private health insurance to claim back some of the cost when they receive a massage. These rebates make massage more affordable for insured people, increasing the likelihood of a full appointment book for you!
About health fund rebates
It’s hard to believe, but there are over 50 health funds available in Australia. You’ve probably heard of some of the more popular ones, which include NIB, Medibank Private, HBF, BUPA, and HCF. Health fund rebates vary depending on the provider and the level of cover that the individual has. Rebates can be in the form of a percentage of the full fee, a set amount per treatment or a capped amount per annum.
Not all private health funds cover massage therapy but for those that do, the main type of service covered is remedial massage. For those people who have cover for massage, it can be a big incentive to seek regular treatment from a registered provider.
What qualification do I need to obtain health fund provider numbers?
There was a time when completing a massage diploma course was all you needed to qualify for health fund provider status. However, due to recent changes in the educational system (mainly driven by online education and intensive training courses), some health insurance funds have become more specific about the qualifications that are required to gain access to their provider schemes.
At Sage Institute of Massage, you can rest assured that your massage qualifications meet the learning requirements of the health funds. Completing a Diploma of Remedial Massage at Sage will give you the best chance of obtaining provider numbers from all the major health funds.
Managing your massage therapy business wisely
When you have completed your diploma, it is wise to apply for provider numbers with the major funds as soon as possible, as this may help you attract a steady flow of customers. It is important though not to focus your marketing efforts too heavily on customers with private health insurance. Ultimately, you should never lose sight of the real reason customers return – they’ve had a great massage. Indeed, there are many great massage practices that thrive without any insurance rebates at all. Instead, they focus on customer loyalty and good business practices to ensure that they attract and retain their customers. While a rebate is important, focussing on the essentials of the business like the client experience, a well positioned price point, a clear brand strategy and top quality treatments are more important.
Other key considerations for a successful massage business include:
- great service
- memberships/loyalty cards
- regular communication with clients
- operating from a sensible, accessible location
- offering a wide variety of services
See our blog, Top 10 tips on starting your own massage therapy business for more information.
How do I obtain health fund provider numbers?
The major health insurance funds have information for providers on their websites. To make the registration process easier however, the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT) maintains and provides lists of eligible massage therapists to many of the health insurance providers. The AAMT also provides information about the membership categories, eligibility and application requirements for provider status with various private health funds and in some cases will administer the process on behalf of members. More information is available at aamt.com.au.
Sage Institute of Massage – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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