health insurance

Brendon's Health Saga: Part Two

brendon's health.jpeg

Who would have thought? One week after writing about a health incident from 12 years ago, Brendon had another similar incident. The shock of it aside, it’s a great reminder of the tremendous benefits of health insurance.

 

When I left you last month, I had just been declined for insurance cover due to the fact that I had a PFO (slightly dodgy valve) in my heart. When first discovered 12 years ago, the medical advice was to leave it, however, the advice now seems to be to get it corrected, according to the medical people at the previously mentioned insurance company.

 

I had also mentioned that the reason I discovered this 12 years ago I had had some neurological issues that led to some "stroke like" symptoms.

 

Fast forward six weeks—the week after writing last month’s blog,—after 12 years of no symptoms, I suffered some further "stroke like symptoms". This was very weird that they occurred just a week after the PFO issue was brought back to my memory.

 

So, anyway, off to the GP who referred me to neurology at the hospital (who, by the way, saw me within one hour of my GP ringing them—thanks public health system) and I was diagnosed with "probable migraines—rather than a stroke". 

 

So, good news. I was then given a four month wait to see a cardiologist regarding the PFO issue (not so good work, public health system).

 

This is where my health insurance kicks in. 

 

Two days later I have an appointment with a cardiologist. And, all things considered, it seems it is worth getting my PFO “closed”. The procedure is covered by health insurance ($21k worth) and I am booked in to have it done on 26 June. The only wee snag at this stage is that I am out of the country on the 29 June, so we are now juggling dates between me, two specialists and operating facilities. 

 

The other add-on to this story is an add-on to my health insurance.  The insurer I am with has a scheme where you can get an "expert medical opinion from one of their world renowned specialists".  So, for professional interest, more than anything, I have asked for a second opinion regards to the diagnosis of the migraines and the advice to get my PFO closed. To be honest I am not expecting a change, however, it will be reassuring to get these things confirmed.

 

Stay tuned for the third exciting instalment next month ...  

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

A Quick Guide to Personal Insurance

insurance.jpeg

Insurance can get confusing. Huge policy documents, insider lingo, fine print everywhere. It’s supposed to provide peace of mind, but can instead just play havoc with even the sharpest samples of grey matter.

So, here’s a 101 guide to understanding your personal insurance.

 

In New Zealand, there are four things a person can insure themselves for:

 

1. Life

 

Why? To repay debts, cover funeral costs and give your loved ones the financial freedom to properly grieve.

 

Who? This pays a lump sum to your estate or the person of your choosing.

 

2. Trauma

 

Why? Give yourself space to recover, whether or not you’re off work for a prolonged period of time.

 

Who? This pays a lump sum to you if you are diagnosed with a specific illness.

 

3. Income Protection

 

Why? Unfortunately the bills still come in if you’re unable to work due to injury or illness. This will pay a percentage of your income (or mortgage repayments) until you’re able to return to work.

 

Who? This pays you a monthly sum.

 

4. Health

 

Why? If you need non-acute surgery, you can skip the public queue and go straight to a private hospital.

 

Who? This pays the medical professionals that are looking after you.

 

Finally, it’s important to ensure that your cover is relevant to your life. Here are a few examples of life events that may impact the relevance of your cover. If any of these apply to you, give us a call!

•          You have new additions to your family

•          Your kids leave home

•          You get married and/or divorced

•          Your job changes

•          Your salary changes

•          You have had any health issues (more than just a GP visit)

•          You have set up a new company or trust

•          You have bought or sold a property

No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone

Debra’s VERY Real Experience of Health Insurance

Health Insurance.jpeg

By Debra Halton

As I sat recovering from my operation at Southern Cross Hospital, I was very

appreciative of Velocity’s work health insurance scheme, ultimately making my

elected surgery possible.

I was also struck by the fact that I sell health insurance and had never visited one

of the hospitals properly before — my eyes were opened to a whole new world.

And I now understood why clients’ favourite insurance is health

insurance — something most of them at some stage get to touch and use. In fact,

apparently, one-in-five New Zealanders have health insurance, so it’s more

common than I realised.

Years earlier, I had been told that in the future I may elect to have a surgery

done. I investigated the options. If I wanted to use one of the leading surgeons in

New Zealand, I would have to go private and, without medical insurance, this

would cost me personally tens of thousands. Going through the public hospital

was an option and much cheaper (i.e. free) but I would have to have an older

method of surgery and would not have the same flexibility with dates and times.

Plus, my recovery would be much longer.

So, because of all this, for years, I did nothing and grew increasingly

uncomfortable until finally Velocity came to the rescues and put the health

scheme in place. The beauty of a group health scheme is that it covers all past

health conditions, whereas a new individual scheme taken out by just me would not.

I had never been to a private hospital before and could not believe what a lovely

experience it was. From having my own private room to not being interrupted all

night (unless it was for a five course meal, which unfortunately I felt much too

sick to enjoy eating), I really appreciated the high quality of care. I felt very well

looked after. I also had the option to stay an extra night when I was not feeling

well and did not feel I was being rushed out to make room for a bed.

So, thanks again Velocity for making it possible for me to get the surgery I

needed with a top surgeon and in a beautiful hospital. I am well on the way to

recovery. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do this.

If you have a business with five staff or more you could also look to put a group

health scheme in place. It used to be that you required a large number of staff to

be able to access these schemes but that has changed.

If you would like to know more about health insurance, please speak to your

Velocity Financial Adviser.

Debra Halton is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No

investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A

disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Public Waiting Lists

AdobeStock_63164096.jpeg

Getting sick isn’t much fun. Being placed at the back of a long public waiting list is even less fun. Graham shares his experiences with navigating the line between health insurance and public health care.

This is not an insurance sell; just observations from my personal experience.

 

There has been plenty of talk leading up to the election about the Southern District Health Board and waiting lists, particularly in reference to those dealing with prostate cancer. The delay in treatment and assessment has led to a shortening of life for many of those concerned.

 

What can you do about it? And how do you manage that for you and your family?

 

Well, if you are in a critical condition, the New Zealand health system is excellent. If you look like you are going to die within the next week then you will be looked after. Also, for some congenital issues, the New Zealand health system is brilliant. As many of you know my son was born with a cleft lip and palate, he's now 23 and the public health system has been excellent during the multiple surgeries and ongoing dental care. However, many years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and went on a waiting list—not so great from our health system. 

 

For my family, private health Insurance made no difference for my son and his surgery (his congenital birth conditions are not covered) but it saved my mother’s life. Private health insurance meant she didn’t need to rely on her position in the public waiting list, her treatment was paid for and we dodged some scary consequences.

 

The key to making sense of the New Zealand health system is learning to dance between those two extremes of having great public health support and being shoved to the back of a long waiting list.

 

Graham Goodisson is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

The importance of being earnest about insurance cover

AdobeStock_38952418.jpeg

Just because you were insured yesterday, doesn’t mean you’ll be covered in the future. Alex shares a powerful story that illustrates the importance of an annual insurance review.

You may have read the story of the Auckland mother who was suddenly struck with Guillain-Barre syndrome in August of this year. She had a trauma insurance policy in place for over 20 years and was devastated to find that her insurance policy did not cover Guillain-Barre syndrome.

 

Trauma insurance is a complicated product compared with life insurance and there is a big difference between the types of cover and the conditions covered in your policy. Many people assume that if something traumatic happens to you then your trauma insurance will cover it. However, not all policies are created equal and it pays to check the conditions listed in your policy. Cheap polices may cover five to ten different conditions, while the quality insurance cover may cover up to 40 different conditions with better policy wordings.

 

In this instance of the women with Guillain-Barre syndrome, her policy had not been changed since she had originally taken it out over 20 years ago. With the advances and changes in medical treatment over the last 20 years her policy wording would have become outdated and covered conditions that were considered traumatic at that time. So, outside influences can influence your cover, even if things from your point of view haven’t changed.

 

The good news is that trauma cover policies are typically getting better and better with more conditions being covered.

 

So, what does all this mean for you and me?

 

The above case highlights the importance of reviewing your cover annually. Making it an annual habit makes sure it gets done and we can do much of the leg work for you.

 

This annual habit to update your insurance will ensure your insurance reflects any industry changes or changes in your life situation and, most importantly, that your insurance cover has the highest likelihood of payout.

 

We are always happy to review your cover or simply just have a chat about what you need.

 

Alex Barendregt is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.