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Brendon's Health Saga: Part Two

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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.

Oops! I Bought an Uninsurable House!

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Wellington leads New Zealand in coffee, craft beer, gin, bucket fountains … and the very best fault line! We win at everything. And now also add high insurance premiums to that list. Yay!

 

Historically, our insurance premiums have not reflected the fact we’re living on such a lustrous fault line—but they are starting to. Insurance companies are very nervous about what an earthquake in Wellington would cost them and have started to prepare for a shaky day ahead.

 

Of course, they prepare for that day by putting premiums up and by making sure they have a comfortable level of exposure in Wellington i.e. each company will only take a certain number of commercial buildings and/or houses.

 

What this means for me as a homeowner/buyer/seller is that I need to give more thought to my house insurance. Premium increases are a given, but the good news is that home insurance is still available.

 

When buying we obviously just need to plan ahead of time by arranging cover for the new house.  

 

Marie from Thorners says it best: “Don’t expect to ring an insurer and get cover sorted the day you take possession of your new home!” 

 

We encourage people to make sure they can obtain insurance cover before they enter into an agreement to buy a property. This includes undertaking your due diligence when buying any house to understand its full history, particularly if the property has previously suffered form earthquake damage. Irrespective of whether you think it might only be cosmetic, before your cover is confirmed, insurers will ask for a lot of information like claim reports, scope of repairs, evidence the repairs have been completed and so on. All of this takes time, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

 

Velocity has a range of companies we have relationships with to help with house insurance, so please ring if you are running into difficulty or need a second opinion. 

 

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 "What If?" and "Would You Rather?" Game

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When we’re young, we all feel invincible. Life is pretty good. Most of us have some disposable income and live it up. But there comes a time when we all need to ask the “what if” questions, says Debra Halton.

 

Sitting across from a young couple who had just purchased a home, I got them talking playing the old “What if …?” and “Would you rather …?” games. What if one of them got seriously sick, would the healthy one rather continue working in order to pay the bills or to have the choice to be there for their sick partner. What if one of them died? Would they rather be able to take some time off work or would their finances be such that they’d need to rush back to work?

 

Discovering what people need and what they really want and raising some very real “what if” scenarios is my job. And it’s important. I know lovely people who never had that question asked of them before tragedy struck. For example, last year, a father of four young kids dropped dead suddenly. Overnight everything changed for his wife and children. There was a long silence on the end of the phone to the insurance company when the wife realised there was only $50,000 of life insurance coming to the family. She was left to grieve and then bear the burden of housing, clothing and feeding her kids single-handed.

 

Some say that Kiwis don't’ like to discuss two things—sex and money—so I can hear the audible sigh as I write this piece on insurance. For, although it’s not sex, it’s most definitely about money. And our reluctance to talk about insurance is even more pronounced when it comes to insuring our lives: If I stopped people on the street and asked about car insurance almost everyone would say a resounding “yes”, yet if I asked about protection for you and your family if something tragic should happen, only 40 per cent would nod their heads.

 

So, I know these “what if” questions are hard, but the “would you rather” game gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we value most and how we can protect them best. The hope with good insurance is that you’ll never need to use it. But if you did, the people who matter most in your life will want to thank you for having the courage to confront those tough “what if” questions.

 

If you’d like a chance to throw around some “what if” scenarios and review your personal insurance, let’s grab a coffee—my shout! Would you rather have it black or milky and foamy? Perhaps soy or even a hot choc?

 

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

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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.