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Chiropractic healthcare is a well-known method of treating back and neck pain.

In fact, one in six (the equivalent of four million) Australians were affected by back problems in 2017-18, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).1

So, what exactly does chiropractor treatment do? And, is chiropractic covered by private health insurance in Australia, or do you pay out of your pocket?

Let’s crack on and learn all about chiropractic services and health insurance.

How does chiropractic work?

Chiropractic therapy is a universal method used to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal issues and help alleviate pain. This type of treatment manipulates the spine, joints and the body’s alignment by adjusting the body’s position and applying pressure on trigger points by hand or instrument.

If you visit a chiropractic healthcare centre, therapy can also include physical training to fix posture and limit the strain on your back when you sit, stand or walk.

Chiropractic therapy can include a range of treatments and techniques,2 such as:

  • spinal manipulation
  • joint movement and mobilisations
  • stretching and exercises
  • heat or ice application
  • soft tissue massage
  • orthotics (shoe inserts for posture and alignment).

Chiropractic can potentially treat back pain (commonly treats lower back pain), neck pain, headaches and migraines, joint issues (e.g. knees, shoulders, extremities), period pain or cramps, posture issues and sciatica (i.e. shooting pains in the leg).3


Does health insurance cover chiropractic visits?

Yes, chiropractor services can be covered through private health insurance extras cover. If your health insurance policy pays a benefit (a dollar amount) towards chiropractor sessions, the amount you can claim on your these visits will depend on your policy’s limit (e.g. $30 per visit).

These services are only covered under extras-only health insurance policies, not hospital policies. While chiropractic cover is a common feature of extras-only cover, not all policies pay a benefit towards these services.  Be sure to read through your policy brochure to get an understanding of what is and isn’t covered and whether any limits apply.

How much does a chiropractor cost?

In terms of how much chiropractic costs, prices will differ depending on which clinic you visit. However, your initial consultation with a chiropractor (including an examination and evaluation) may cost around $90-$100. A follow-up or standard consultation may cost between $50 and $75.4

How much can I claim on chiropractic through health insurance?

The amount you can claim back from a chiropractor session will vary, depending on your policy. With some extras policies, you can claim back a percentage amount (e.g. 50%-60%) or a dollar amount (e.g. $25-$40) for each visit to the chiropractor.5

Discover how HICAPS can help you make a claim instantly when you visit your chiropractor.


Who should consider chiropractic cover in their health insurance policy?

If you have regular pain or limited movement in your back, neck, shoulders, muscles, joints or limbs, or have frequent headaches, you might benefit from chiropractic treatment. If your GP recommends chiropractic, you might want to consider getting health insurance to help pay for such services.

Conversely, you might consider getting health insurance with chiro cover if you have a higher chance of joint or back problems or injuries, such as if you:

  • work in a physical job
  • play regular sports
  • had a recent accident (and suffered whiplash)
  • find daily activities and household chores put too much strain on your body.

Frequently asked questions

Does chiropractic health insurance have annual claim limits?

Yes, extras health insurance policies will typically have annual claim limits, which vary depending on your policy. For example, it may have coverage limits of $200-$700 to spend on chiropractic health care every year.

Some policies may also group particular services (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, remedial massage) and the amount you can claim for chiropractic will be subject to this ‘group limit’. For example, you may have a maximum of $500 in total to claim over the year on any therapies in the group.

If you’re looking for the health insurance for chiropractic care rebates, you should look for a health insurance policy that offers higher limits for chiropractic than other policies, as well as affordable premiums.

How long do I have to wait before I claim chiropractic on health insurance?

If you’re taking out a new extras policy or upgrading your policy, you may have a waiting period before you can claim chiropractic on your health insurance. Claiming for chiropractic generally has a two-month waiting period, but this can be longer or shorter depending on your policy.

When signing up to a new extras health insurance policy, some health funds may have promotions that allow you to claim particular services sooner, or even immediately.

Is chiropractic health insurance subject to any other conditions?

Your health fund may outline particular requirements that you need to meet to claim chiropractic services. For example, health funds may have a condition that you can only claim on chiropractic sessions if your treatment is carried out by an approved chiropractor that has an agreement with the health fund.

Another condition your health fund may impose is your chiropractic treatment needs to be deemed medically necessary by a doctor to be covered for chiropractic services. This condition means you might not be covered if you go to a chiropractor simply because you feel like getting a ‘back crack’.

Your policy brochure will contain more information about such conditions or requirements.

How do I know if a chiropractor is registered?

Chiropractors in Australia need to register through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). You can search the AHPRA database to see if your chiropractor is currently registered. It may also be a good idea to read reviews of the chiropractor to see how others rated their treatment.

Is chiropractic covered by Medicare in Australia?

No, in terms of chiropractic, Medicare Australia generally doesn’t bulk bill or cover chiropractic under the Medicare Benefits Scheme. However, if you’ve had a chronic or terminal medical condition for six months or longer, you may be eligible for a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangements (TCA).6

With this care plan, you’ll have access to Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Medicare items. You will be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for five individual visits to an allied health professional (e.g. chiropractor) during the calendar year.

If you aren’t eligible for this care plan, you can still go to a chiropractor with no health insurance, but you’ll have to pay the full costs out-of-pocket.


Ready to find health insurance that covers chiropractic services?

You can use our health insurance comparison service to compare a range of policies from some of Australia’s largest health funds.

When you’re comparing health insurance through our service, you’ll be able to easily compare coverage between policies, premiums and features side-by-side. Our service makes it easy to find great value!

Don’t forget to double-check the policy brochure, before signing up, to confirm your chiro cover limits!


[1] Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Reports & data: Chronic musculoskeletal conditions, Back problems. (last updated 30 August 2019)

[2] Victoria State Government – BetterHealth Channel: Chiropractic, Chiropractic treatments. (last updated October 2017)

[3] Healthdirect – Chiropractors: what conditions do chiropractors treat? (last reviewed December 2018)

[4] Price range based on list of fees on four clinics – My Back Relief Clinic, Tweed Central Chiropractic, Wellspring Chiropractic and Docklands Chiropractic. (accessed December 2019)

[5] Claim amounts based on features of 12 extras-cover policies quoted on Compare the Market for single male aged 33, living in QLD, earning $90,000 or less (quoted on 5 December 2019).

[6] Australian Government Department of Health – Chronic Disease Management: Provider Information. (page last updated 9 February 2016)

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