GUIDES & RESOURCES

Health Insurance Gym Memberships: Get Fit And Save Money

Finding a policy that provides you with gym membership or fitness class extras could be a great way to get more out of your private health insurance.
woman doing exercise in gym class

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Does your health insurance cover gym membership? We all know exercise is a key component of keeping healthy. Luckily there are health cover plans that provide rebates and discounts for gym memberships. Some private health insurers will cover other fitness classes too.

More than just gym membership

Private health insurance may cover towards more than just the gym. Some plans also cover pilates and yoga classes, personal training sessions, and swimming lessons. Some funds may require you to have a health professional fill in a form to state you require the membership/classes to improve a specific health condition.

Private health cover usually offers these fitness benefits under extras packages. Often they’re referred to as ‘health management,’ ‘lifestyle,’ or ‘wellness’ benefits. If you already have health insurance with extras, check these sections of your insurance description. You may already be covered for gym membership benefits that you aren’t claiming.

Some health insurers have agreements with particular gyms or instructors. This may help decide which insurer is the best fit. We can help you match a plan to the type of fitness cover you’re after, or one that involves the gym closest to you.

It’s important to note that on the 1st of April 2019, the Australian Government will cease to provide the private health insurance rebate to insurers for some natural therapies, including yoga and pilates. This may affect extras cover that currently offer these types of services1.

Fitness extras available through health insurance graphic

Why do health insurers cover gym memberships and fitness classes?

The answer is simple. The healthier you’re living now, the less likely you are to have significant health issues later. Private health insurers want you to be healthy so you don’t suffer from a range of chronic illnesses that cost them in premium pay-outs in the future.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a particularly big burden on the Australian health system, financially and logistically. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest problems to eradicate with proper exercise. One in five Australian adults (about 4.2 million people) suffered from CVD in 2014–15, based on self-reported data. Eleven per cent of hospitalisations in that period (1.1 million) were related to CVD2. It accounts for more spending than any other chronic disease, and the cost is growing.

Expenditure on selected diseases and conditions graphic

Diabetes is another disease that costs the health system, with the total annual cost for Australians with type 2 diabetes up to $6 billion3.

Exercise not only prevents chronic health issues, but can be used to treat many of them as well. Exercise and physical activity is an important part of good asthma management4. Exercise is an excellent way to prevent and reduce back pain, and activities such as yoga or pilates can improve the flexibility and the strength of your back muscles5.

How much of your fitness costs will private health insurance cover?

Health insurance gym membership and fitness benefits differ by provider. They’re also liable to change over time. They may be percentage-based, or have monthly or annual limits. Make sure to check any conditions when you sign up, as it’s important to know if these affect the amount you can claim.

Health insurance fitness offerings

iSelect offers a number of private health insurance plans with gym membership or fitness offerings.

How to claim health insurance gym membership and fitness extras

Your GP, physio, or healthcare physician may have to sign a health management form, and you should keep receipts for fitness services you plan on claiming. Also, your gym membership or fitness classes will need approval by your health fund. Check with your private health insurer to find out which fitness providers they work with.

Picking the best fund for your health insurance gym membership

There’s a lot to consider when comparing health insurers and their gym or fitness offers. Choosing the level of private health insurance cover that’s right for you will also involve looking at what kind of hospital coverage is offered, your life stage, and how much you can afford. However picking a private health insurance policy to help claim your gym membership can be a strong incentive, especially when you’re looking to get the most out of your insurance.

iSelect can help you sort through all that factors that contribute to picking a health fund, and find the best plan for your needs.

Call us on 13 19 20 to compare plans and find your fit.

Sources:

1. Australian Department Of Health
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/private-health-insurance-reforms-fact-sheet-removing-coverage-for-some-natural-therapies

2. Australian Institute Of Health & Welfare
https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/health-conditions-disability-deaths/heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/overview

3. Diabetes Australia
https://static.diabetesaustralia.com.au/s/fileassets/diabetes-australia/e7282521-472b-4313-b18e-be84c3d5d907.pdf

4. Victorian State Government
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma-and-exercise

5. Health Direct
https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/back-pain-prevention

iSelect does not compare all products in the market. Not all products are available at all times.

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