Health Insurance in NZ is Important, and This is Why
You buy health insurance hoping that you’ll never have to use it. But if you do need it, it ensures you get the best, fastest treatment. Protect your family with the right level of health insurance.
What Is Health Insurance?
Like any insurance, health insurance is a gamble.
If you don’t have it, it’s gambling that you’ll never get sick, that you’ll never have an accident, that your children will never require medical intervention.
Can you afford to gamble on your health?
Broadly, there are three types of health insurance available in New Zealand, and each type will depend on the needs of the user.
Full cover – This covers everything, from doctors and dentist visits through to surgery. This is best for people with chronic health conditions and regular medical requirements.
Partial cover – This covers hospitalisation and surgery as well as specialists and medical testing. However it does not cover doctors and dentist visits. This is recommended for most people.
Surgery only – This covers only surgery. This is the cheapest cover but also runs the risk of not allowing for important medical testing.
Why Do You & Your Family Need Health Insurance?
While NZ has a free public health system, people needing elective surgery are facing huge delays to receive care.
There are 174,000 Kiwis on the waitlist for elective surgery.
Of that, 70,000 are suffering, with severe or significant impact on their life.
This may mean pain or an inability to perform their jobs or day-to-day life.
If a child is awaiting surgery, if may mean a parent may be unable to work as they stay at home with their sick kid.
The average time to get surgery on the public healthcare system is 177 days.
With private insurance, the average is only 76 days from the first doctor’s visit.
Increasingly New Zealanders are turning towards private health insurance, with 1.4 million Kiwis now having health insurance, an uptake of about 20,000 people in the last year.
Private health insurance not only means you get treatment faster, but allows you to make choices about how you are treated, when you receive treatment, and by whom.
For travellers to NZ or those on a working visa, you are only eligible for free health care if you have lived in NZ for two years.
Until that time, you must pay full price for all medical care.
In New Zealand, an emergency angioplasty with two stents will costs between $16,000 and $26,000. The angiogram test beforehand costs $5000… costs quickly mount up.
What Happens if you Rely on the Public Health System?
There are always cases in the media about people unable to get on with their lives while they wait for treatment, or even worse, dying on the waitlist.
A woman waiting for hand surgery, stuck in hospital for five days as she repeatedly got bumped down the list for people who needed more urgent surgery.
Thousands of people suffering daily, not even on surgical wait lists as they don’t qualify.
A young, healthy woman who had urgent surgery delayed, and died when it was postponed.
A Health Insurance Comparison: Private vs Public
“Paula” is 36 years old, and a non-smoker. She tears her knee cartilage playing cricket with her family. She visits the doctor the next morning when her knee collapses when she gets out of bed. The doctor refers her for a scan, which is completed that afternoon.
This is where he benefits of going private really start to show.
The results of the scan go to her doctor, who finds that she will require surgery for the tear. In the public system, he refers her to a specialist who decides she needs surgery.
The local health board does not rate her as a high priority case, and she isn’t even put on the waiting list.
After struggling and being in pain constantly, 12 months later, she further damages the knee and she is finally placed on the list.
She will get surgery in 5 months.
On the day of her surgery, a more urgent emergency happens and Paula’s surgery is put on hold. A month later, she finally receives surgery and can begin recovery.
The time off work and the struggle to look after her children for more than a year with a painful knee, unable to complete simple tasks, have taken a toll on her life.
The wait for surgery comes with costs for her and her family.
If she had private insurance, the following week she would have visited the specialist.
They ask her what she wants- immediate surgery, or would she rather wait if she has a holiday or event planned?
She opts for immediate surgery at the local hospital close to home.
A month later, the surgery is performed and she is back on her feet a few weeks after that.
If Paula had not had insurance, but had used her savings, the surgery would have cost between $4000 and $7000, with a similar completion timeframe.
Are There Limitations on Health Insurance?
There are often limitations or eligibility issues with insurance. This is why it is important to seek professional advice from an industry professional or insurance broker.
You need to make sure you are covered for the things that are important to you.
Some pre-existing conditions may not be covered, or they may only be covered after a waiting period. There are also varying limitations on cancer treatments, which differ from policy to policy.
Some people may experience higher premiums than others.
Being a smoker will increase the monthly payments and may also place limitations on your cover.
Different policies have different excess rates too, which can affect accessibility of some treatments if your excess is high.
Some policies exclude specific health issues.
They also may have guaranteed policy wording, which is wording that the insurance company cannot change once your policy has been issued. This is important as it may affect your cover later on.
All these things vary from policy to policy and from various providers.
You must carry out thorough research in order to make sure the policy you get is the best for you. If you are unsure of policy wording or which policy works best for you, then you will benefit from an insurance broker, who can advise what will work best for you, and explain the terms and conditions.
A broker can also offer a health insurance comparison, clearly showing what option is best for you.
What is The Right Health Insurance Solution for You?
With a small amount each week, you can cover your family for the unexpected.
Don’t gamble your family’s health.
Contact us today to arrange health insurance. We will do a health insurance comparison for you, and find the best solution for your needs.
Don’t rely on the public health care system. It’s slow to act, with huge backlogs of surgical procedures than mean you could be years from receiving treatment. With private health insurance, you will receive the best care, and in a timely manner.
Why Private Health Insurance ?
Private health insurance offers important protection for you and your family. It gives you peace of mind from the start, with greater choice and the security of prompt treatment for your condition, putting you in control when you or your family needs medical care.
Rather than enduring a long and uncomfortable wait for treatment, you can be seen at a convenient time and location, and with your choice of medical provider. More importantly, we can help you get back on your feet that much quicker.
It helps in other ways too. For example: if your child needed treatment and you had to temporarily stop work to look after them, having private health insurance may quickly give you access to treatment. That way, you can be back to work sooner than may otherwise be possible, once your child recovers.
Depending on the cover chosen, having private health insurance means you can get access to specialist consultations, diagnostic procedures or scans. If and when you need treatment, your insurance will take care of the often significant costs associated with hospitalisation and surgery.