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Chiropractic healthcare is a well-known method of treating back and neck pain. But what exactly does chiropractic treatment do? And does private health insurance cover chiropractors in Australia?

We’ll take you through how chiropractic treatment works, how it’s covered, the out-of-pocket expenses you can expect and more.

How does chiropractic treatment 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 could 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, such as:1

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Joint movement and mobilisations
  • Stretching and exercises
  • Heat or ice application
  • Soft tissue massage.

Chiropractic therapy can potentially treat a range of health problems such as back pain (commonly lower back pain), neck pain, headaches and migraines, posture issues and sciatica (shooting pains in the leg).2

chiropractic doctor with patient

Does health insurance cover chiropractic visits?

Yes, chiropractic services can be included on a private health insurance extras cover policy. If your private insurance does pay a benefit towards sessions with a chiropractor, the amount you can claim on your visits will depend on your policy.

These services are typically only included on extras health insurance policies, not hospital policies, but not all health insurance plans pay a benefit towards these services. Be sure to read through your policy brochure to understand what is and isn’t covered and whether any limits apply.

How much does a chiropractor cost?

In terms of how much chiropractic treatment costs, prices will differ depending on which clinic you visit. However, on average, your initial consultation with a chiropractor (including an examination and evaluation) may cost around $90.3 Meanwhile, the average cost of a follow-up or standard consultation is around $65.

How much can I claim on chiropractic through health insurance?

When you receive treatment, the amount you can claim back will vary depending on your insurance company and policy. With some extras policies, you can claim back a percentage amount (e.g. 50-60%), while others will pay a dollar amount (e.g. $25-$35) for each visit to the chiropractor.

Regardless of your benefit type, you won’t be able to claim above your extras policy limits. For example, your policy may have a group limit of $500 across chiropractic, remedial massage and osteopathy. In this case, once you’ve spent $500 across these services, you will no longer be able to claim for chiropractic until your limits reset for the year.

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

Woman visits chiropractor for back pain

Who should consider chiropractic cover in their health insurance policy?

You might benefit from chiropractic treatment if you have regular chronic pain or limited movement in your back, neck, shoulders, muscles, joints or limbs, or have frequent headaches. If your GP recommends chiropractic, you might want to consider getting an extras health insurance policy 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 and injuries, such as if you:

  • Work in a physical job
  • Play regular sports
  • Had a recent car 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 limits on how much you can claim, which vary depending on your policy. For example, your policy 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) together under one benefit, and the amount you can claim for chiropractic will be subject to this ‘group limit’. For example, you may have a maximum of $500 to claim over the year on any therapies in the group.

If you’re looking for cover with adequate 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 current one, you may have to serve a waiting period before you can claim chiropractic on your health insurance. The waiting period for chiropractic is generally two months, but this can vary depending on your policy.

When signing up for a new extras health insurance policy, some health funds may have promotions that waive the shorter waiting periods, such as two and six months, allowing you to claim immediately.

Is chiropractic health insurance subject to any other conditions?

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

Another condition your health fund may impose is that your chiropractic treatment needs to be deemed medically necessary by a doctor to be covered. 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, so make sure you read this before you sign up to know what you’re covered for.

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 registered. It may also be a good idea to read reviews of a chiropractor to see how others rated their treatment.

Is chiro covered by Medicare?

Generally speaking, Medicare doesn’t usually bulk bill or cover chiropractic under the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS). However, if you’ve had a terminal or chronic condition for six months or longer, you may be eligible for a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangements (TCA).4

With this care plan, you’ll have access to Chronic Disease Management (CDM) items under Medicare. Upon referral, you’ll be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for five individual visits to an allied health professional (e.g. chiropractor) per calendar year. If you aren’t eligible for this care plan, you can still go to a chiropractor without health insurance, but you’ll have to pay the full out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare can also help pay for examinations like X-rays, which you can use in conjunction with chiropractic services.

Top tips on chiropractic cover from our health insurance expert, Lana Hambilton

  1. Know your options. If you plan on using chiropractic cover regularly, it’s worth comparing your options because limits and rebates can vary significantly between health funds. You might find a better-value policy out there that can take more financial pressure off your regular visits.
  2. Review the group limits on your policy. Chiropractic cover is often grouped with other services. If these are services that you use regularly, you may quickly use up your group limit and find yourself paying out of pocket until your limits reset. If this is the case, you might want to look for policies with higher group limits or policies that don’t group chiropractic cover with other services that you regularly claim on.
  3. Watch out for sub limits. Occasionally a sub limit will be applied to chiropractic cover, which is the maximum that you can claim on that service within your overall extras cover. If you’re planning to use chiropractic cover regularly, check your sub limits to make sure you have enough cover for what you need.

Want 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 leading 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 look for great value!

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


1 Victoria State Government – BetterHealth Channel: Chiropractic, Chiropractic treatments. Accessed March 2023.
2 Healthdirect – Chiropractors: what conditions do chiropractors treat? Accessed March 2023.
3 Comcare – Rates for medical and allied health treatment. Averaged across Australia for comparable services. March 2023.
4 Australian Government Department of Health – Chronic Disease Management: Provider Information. Accessed March 2023.

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