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Health insurance in New Zealand complements our public health care system and ACC to provide for New Zealander’s medical needs. Health Insurance covers the cost of any private medical attention you receive – as per the conditions in your policy – and you can purchase it for yourself, your family, or even your staff.

Insurance is designed to manage risk and alleviate financial stress when a health event occurs, and every day we see that health insurance provides support and peace of mind for our members during particularly stressful times. It allows you to focus your energy on your own – or a family member’s – well-being during treatment and the recovery journey that follows.

Why do people take out health insurance?

Although the public health sector in New Zealand is very good, it is unable to provide for everyone’s needs. This influences many of the main reasons why people take up health insurance.

Shorter wait times for treatment

Private healthcare facilities have dramatically reduced wait times for treatment compared to public facilities– often by around 100 days or more. Researching our members’ needs, we found speed of treatment was the most important factor in purchasing a health insurance policy. People who opt for private health insurance often do it for this reason alone.

Greater control over the quality and accessibility of care

There are some procedures that are not covered by the public system and some people who do not make it onto the waitlist for surgery, despite their need. With private health care, you have more control over your treatment plan – from choosing what specialist you see, to where you have your surgery and when.

Hold onto your savings

With health insurance, there’s no need to tap into your own savings for medical costs. Many people in our research said that if it came up, they would simply not be able to afford the unexpected cost of surgery.

Greater comfort than a public hospital

Private treatment often offers a higher quality of accommodation and more staff per patient. They are also likely to have longer or more flexible visitation times than the public system. This can make a big difference to your treatment experience, and your speed of recovery.

Who needs health insurance?

Over 1.3 million New Zealanders have health insurance and last year saw the highest uptake since 2001 (Health Funds Association of New Zealand, 2018).

People’s first experience with health insurance is often because it is provided by their workplace. However, there is health insurance coverage for people with different needs.

  • Individuals, children or entire families can be covered, so you can have peace of mind that yourself and/or your children have access to the level of medical care needed. Accuro is the only company to offer a product specifically designed for children and our StaffCare range has been recommended by Consumer magazine in every health insurance review since 2008. This makes us their most recommended insurer.
  • Employers may take out cover for their employees as part of a wellness package. We are the only company to offer group insurance plans designed for New Zealand business.
  • Non-residents, who either need medical insurance for their visa with Immigration New Zealand or who are on a New Zealand work visa and don’t have access to free cover in the public health care system. Accuro is the only health insurer in New Zealand to provide medical insurance to those here for less than two years.

 

What’s covered by health insurance?

This varies between different health insurers and their products. Generally, there are two different types of health insurance products: hospital/ surgical policies and primary care policies. Hospital and surgical policies are aimed to cover large procedures and treatments whereas primary care policies are aimed to cover your everyday expenses, such as doctor’s visits and prescriptions. If you want the high-level cover of a hospital and surgical plan but also for day to day expenses, most insurers will give you the option to add additional plans or modules to customise your health cover.

An example of a hospital and surgical policy is Accuro’s SmartCare+ policy, which covers a variety of medical needs, including:

  • General surgery
  • Oral surgery
  • Major diagnostics (such as MRI or CT scans)
  • Cancer treatment
  • Private hospital medical admission
  • Non-PHARMAC subsidised drugs

You can then add on additional plans that cover benefits such as specialist consultations, GP visits, as well as dental visits and treatment.

 

Consider your needs

If speed, quality and financial security are important to you when it comes to your health, then health insurance is worth investigation. To explore your options and the different types of insurance, check out our personal health insurance section, or contact us today for a more personal conversation with one of our membership specialists.

 

Further Reading

Understanding Health Insurance – Accuro’s own resource

Public and Private Health Systems – Medical Council of New Zealand