If you’re in a company with more than five staff and don’t have private health care as part of your employee package, you should bring it up at the next staff meeting. This is something that could be available to you through the Velocity Financial company wellbeing initiative (watch this space for more on the Employer Momentum Programme).
Imagine the life-changing possibilities not only for you (the boss pays your premium) but also your spouse and kids. Pre-existing conditions (excluding congenital) covered from day one and you could be avoiding New Zealand’s growing public waiting lists.
New Zealand’s public health system is great, but it’s also being stretched. Health treatments are becoming increasingly expensive and longer lifespans mean there’s more time for the wheels to come off. Annually, 380,000 Kiwis receive elective surgery. Of the additional 270,000 that need elective surgery, 170,000 aren’t on a waiting list as their health condition is not perceived to be sufficiently serious. Auckland heart patients needing to wait 12 months or more to get seen is certainly not fake news.
The examples, if you don’t already know someone affected or on a waiting list already, are numerous. But here are three stories to illustrate where things can go wrong:
· The Kiwi lady who couldn’t wait any longer on the public health waiting list and dipped into her retirement savings to fund her hip replacement at $22k (a significant chunk of her savings) ending what she called her year of pain.
· The Waikato bus driver who, with a lung cancer prognosis and given six months to live, had to fund his own treatment of the immunotherapy drug Keytruda at $7k a pop (four treatments needed) after the funding was halted by Pharmac.
· Recently, Counties Manakau DHB breast cancer service has been turning down more referrals by toughening the threshold for seeing patients and reducing the number of follow up appointments, delaying the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Outside of this strained public system, in 2019, private insurance companies paid more than $1.3b in claims in New Zealand. So, there is another option out there and your workplace could be well-positioned to make it happen.
Yes, the premiums do go up each year. Yes, there are exclusions. Yes, big pharma and the insurance companies do pretty well. But not looking into your options or asking a broker about what it would actually cost leaves you on a waiting list you may never top.
Give us a bell today to talk through workplace health insurance options.
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.