March 17, 2020
Simon O'Neill
All Blogs

Do I need health insurance in New Zealand?

This isn’t America, so do we really need individual health insurance? It all comes down to how willing you are to wait.

There are safety nets in place in New Zealand so you’re not out in the cold if you don’t have health insurance. The public health system is fantastic. If you need acute surgery immediately, that’s always going to happen in the public system and we’ve got ACC for accidents (even if you’re just visiting the country).


However, for the less urgent things, it’s the wait time that’s the big issue. It could be months or even years on a waiting list.


When you stop and think about that long wait, dealing with a serious health issue with no fix in the near future, it’s a pretty awful propsect. Am I prepared and can I afford to be off work partially or fully for an extended period? Does anyone depend on me financially?


Health insurance routinely pays 100% of the costs of your medical treatment. 1.4 million Kiwis have health insurance. That’s roughly 30% of us.


The issue, of course, as with so much of life’s issues, is cost.


The premiums keep going up. A sizable chunk of the remaining 70% of Kiwis would take it up if it were more affordable. So, perhaps the question is, how can I afford health care? Here are some options:


1. Shop around. Discover the discounts.


2. There are insurance company-led incentives currently in place that if you’re living well (exercising and eating your veges), you can make lasting savings on your premiums.


3. Your workplace may be eligible for a group health scheme where the boss picks up the cost of the premium. This is becoming more commonplace with workplaces really leaning into the wellbeing of their staff.


4. Another way to help keep the premiums in-check is to have a higher excess. That is, the amount that you still have to pay toward the procedure or surgery.  For example, a procedure might be $10,000 and you have a $1000 excess, the health insurance will pay the remaining $9000. Common surgeries can cost upwards of $20,000.


In terms of what to expect for monthly payments, premiums for a 35-year-old male/female, non-smoker, start around $55/month. If this sits within your budget, and you’re free of major health conditions, now could be the perfect time to make some enquiries.


Simon O’Neill 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.

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