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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
You can then add on additional plans that cover benefits such as specialist consultations, GP visits, as well as dental visits and treatment.
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.
Understanding Health Insurance – Accuro’s own resource
Public and Private Health Systems – Medical Council of New Zealand