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  1. Post
    #1

    Health Insurance

    Hey guys,

    With the public health system suffering more and more with tighter and tighter budgets I think it's time I start looking at health insurance.

    Wondering if I can get some suggestions or recommendations for who to go with. Using TradeMe's LifeDirect to get quotes but beyond that I don't know who is best to deal with.

    Thanks!

  2. Post
    #2
    I'm with Southern Cross - previously had the Wellbeing Two plan through work, now have health essentials. Their claims are super easy, they have an app you can use to take photos/upload invoice of claims and the turnaround is super fast. A lot of providers have easy claim as well which means you don't need to pay and get reimbursed.

    Can't speak on how the cover compares to other companies as I haven't looked into that.

  3. Post
    #3
    We use southern cross through work, and they aren't too bad. Gotta get a policy worth having though, some of the cheapest ones aren't really worth it

  4. Post
    #4
    one_red_god wrote:
    Gotta get a policy worth having though
    This is the part I find most difficult to figure out. I definitely don't need GP cover for the ~1 time I need to see the GP per year, and I probably don't need dental considering my wisdom teeth are already taken care of and my yearly check-ups tend to go fine, but beyond that I don't really know what I should be looking for/ where the public system could let me down.

  5. Post
    #5
    I have a Wellbeing One plan with Southern Cross. About $30 per fortnight.

    I'm happy enough with this level of cover for now, it's really only there for anything unexpected/major that might crop up, i.e. cancer, surgical, diagnostics etc. The difference between One and Two is that diagnostic tests, imagery, and recovery is only covered within 6 months of related treatment vs. at any time respectively.

    I do get regular annual hearing, vision, lung function, and blood tests for free at work though as part of our health screening and employee well being policy, plus there is a full-time nurse on site that I can see about minor niggles.

  6. Post
    #6
    Southern Cross is reputed to be good. Partners Life is also worth a look.

    Either way, read carefully what is and isn't covered and make sure you're happy with it.

  7. Post
    #7
    I had it all my working life, but at a certain age they just price you out of it.

    It's good if you've got a family and it's subsidized.

    But if none of those things apply you'd do better to stick a few thousand in a separate bank account and earn some interest on it.

    The other downside is that if you're a bit of a hypochondriac you get a lot of tests done for no real reason.

    Also, look at what they don't cover like extras the hospitals load up their bills with.

    The last knee operation I had, I paid at least 50% of the total costs, despite supposedly having a comprehensive policy.

  8. Post
    #8
    The problem with Health Insurance, every year, the older you get the more you have to pay. You receive no credit for being healthy and not claiming in those early years. I suggest if people want health insurance, that it would be cheaper to self fund your own health fund pot for elective surgeries. Get a quote for how much it will cost for you to insure yourself and then place the equivalent into a savings account, only to be used for health related events, you'll find you will have more than enough to cover most future eventualities and any acute ailments will mostly be covered by the public health system anyway or by ACC if you have an accident.

    Just remember health insurance is usually only useful for elective surgery.

  9. Post
    #9
    Zarkov wrote:
    But if none of those things apply you'd do better to stick a few thousand in a separate bank account and earn some interest on it.
    This really. Health insurance only pays out well if you contract some sort of highly unlikely shitty ailment.

  10. Post
    #10
    *bump* i'm also in the same place with insurance atm, just curious if anyone has tried Accuro? They seem like they have good customer feedback but hard to tell if it's legit, consumer.org.nz did a survey and found them to be #1 but they only had a sample size of 85 - hardly conclusive IMO.

  11. Post
    #11
    i.e.awesome wrote:
    I'm with Southern Cross - previously had the Wellbeing Two plan through work, now have health essentials. Their claims are super easy, they have an app you can use to take photos/upload invoice of claims and the turnaround is super fast. A lot of providers have easy claim as well which means you don't need to pay and get reimbursed.

    Can't speak on how the cover compares to other companies as I haven't looked into that.
    Have this and have used the cover a few times, always super easy, can swipe my card at some places.

  12. Post
    #12
    Infuriation wrote:
    *bump* i'm also in the same place with insurance atm, just curious if anyone has tried Accuro? They seem like they have good customer feedback but hard to tell if it's legit, consumer.org.nz did a survey and found them to be #1 but they only had a sample size of 85 - hardly conclusive IMO.
    Was with Accuro with work, but never claimed so can't compare.

    One thing to note with all providers, be careful with some of the add-ons like GP visits as these are very limited, and the cost is often about the same as the benefits.

  13. Post
    #13
    Worries me how psycho some providers seem to be with "pre-existing" conditions here...Aussie health insurance providers seem to be way better in this regard, due to the fact they are no longer allowed to turn down people due to pre-existing conditions (i think you still have to wait 12 months after switching to make claims) - think this is the same in the US now, pretty shite that Health Insurance providers don't do that over here (they always cite that premiums will go up if they do this but premiums are high as it is here...lol)

  14. Post
    #14
    Infuriation wrote:
    Worries me how psycho some providers seem to be with "pre-existing" conditions here...Aussie health insurance providers seem to be way better in this regard, due to the fact they are no longer allowed to turn down people due to pre-existing conditions (i think you still have to wait 12 months after switching to make claims) - think this is the same in the US now, pretty shite that Health Insurance providers don't do that over here (they always cite that premiums will go up if they do this but premiums are high as it is here...lol)
    I am thankful they don't cover existing conditions as a general rule. Could you imagine how high the premiums would be if they had to?

    You do understand that the premiums collected have to cover the outgoing costs don't you?

  15. Post
    #15
    Infuriation wrote:
    Worries me how psycho some providers seem to be with "pre-existing" conditions here...Aussie health insurance providers seem to be way better in this regard, due to the fact they are no longer allowed to turn down people due to pre-existing conditions (i think you still have to wait 12 months after switching to make claims) - think this is the same in the US now, pretty shite that Health Insurance providers don't do that over here (they always cite that premiums will go up if they do this but premiums are high as it is here...lol)
    NZ has a very small population and low incentive to actually get health insurance, so to maintain the viability of even that small pool they probably need to exclude pre-existing conditions. I'm not expert on health insurance, particularly in NZ, but it seems likely that if premiums went up that fewer and fewer people would bother with it, thus putting it into a death spiral.

    US health insurance can have pre-existing conditions mandates because 180 million Americans have private health insurance, and its the primary health vehicle for those between 20 and 65. The US health system is predicated on that private health insurance, and therefore its important to cover as many people as possible. Plus its just good economically for the individual and the state to have people get primary health care and not have their conditions become acute enough to need costly emergency care; since the mid 80s, health providers cannot deny emergency care in the US based on insurance or ability to pay.

    Australia is a little different again. To relieve the public system, higher income people are given a nudge through the tax system to get private health insurance (a progressive surcharge tax above $90k single or $180k joint income). Younger people are incentivized to join through a 2% per year loading after the age of 30 (ie. if you want till you're 36 to get PHI you pay 10% extra for 10 years). Its a struggle to get people into the system even with these incentives, but at decent incomes it makes sense to buy the health insurance simply because the premiums are less than the tax surcharge. Screening for pre-existing conditions doesn't help in this regard, and there are wait periods to prevent joining simply to care for a specific and immediate illness (pregnancy, for example).

    TBH, I don't see that much of a point in private insurance in NZ. Acute illnesses will often be treated through the public system anyway, and there's not wait times for them. Private hospitals are good for people who have elective surgeries that have long wait times in the public sector, but you're usually better just paying those out of pocket. My dad had knee surgery and aunts and uncles have had hips done privately simply to get relief faster, but that was out of pocket. My mum had double bypass after a mild heart attack a couple years back and it was done within a week in the public system, at Christmas time no less.

  16. Post
    #16
    until you need to see a psychiatrist weekly to dial in meds and then its $500+ initial visit and 200-300$ each follow up. Or wait in the public system for infinity. The kicker is, even with health insurance, it typically only covers the first session (at least from my quick skim of a few providers) and then you're on your own after that.

  17. Post
    #17
    Yep, you don't want to get cancer in the public system in NZ.

  18. Post
    #18
    Public system did fine by me when I had cancer. Not sure what you are basing that on, but do explain.

  19. Post
    #19
    I have southern cross through my work never used it, however a good friend of mine got very ill last year with some kind of gastric issue was in heaps of pain, went to the public hospital 4 times got discharged and had to come back every time around a day later over around a fortnight, it was just before Christmas last year and they could not fit him in for a gastroscopy as he was not dying just on around a 8 on the pain scale. We found a place private place Auckland that could do it in a day sorted everything through southern cross no problem. To me that showed the value of heath insurance in NZ.

  20. Post
    #20
    Fragluton wrote:
    Public system did fine by me when I had cancer. Not sure what you are basing that on, but do explain.
    statistics show we have a higher mortality rate than most other first world countries. It is widely known that NZ is a shit country to get cancer in, even compared to Australia. Your experience may have been fine, but a lot of people this is not the case.

  21. Post
    #21
    "it is widely known"

    The **** it is

  22. Post
    #22
    KevinL wrote:
    "it is widely known"

    The **** it is
    It’s on the news all the time - at least once every couple months on the news is some new story complaining about NZs cancer care results

  23. Post
    #23
    SirGrim wrote:
    It’s on the news all the time - at least once every couple months on the news is some new story complaining about NZs cancer care results
    https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=51882

    Our 5 year survival statistics aren't terrible - yes, it could be better compared to Australia, but that's probably more reflective of our more culturally diverse population (with associated risks) compared to Australia. If we controlled for the different population makeup the gap would be a lot smaller

    CONCORD-3 reported "For most cancers, 5-year net survival remains among the highest in the world in the USA and Canada, in Australia and New Zealand, and in Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden."

    By global standards we're doing pretty well. Additionally the likes of PHARMAC arguably make cancer care more accessible/affordable to the majority of patients, which isn't necessarily the case elsewhere.


  24. Post
    #24
    I heard somewhere that it's not the treatment, but people aren't diagnosed/screened early enough (I think this was specifically RE lung cancer, lack of chest xrays)

  25. Post
    #25
    i.e.awesome wrote:
    I heard somewhere that it's not the treatment, but people aren't diagnosed/screened early enough (I think this was specifically RE lung cancer, lack of chest xrays)
    Pretty sure chest x rays aren't used for screening, where no other symptoms are present.

    Most common complaint about cancer treatment in NZ relates to our sparse use of palliative cancer drugs.

    OK by me as a taxpayer, they're mostly ruinously expensive and of limited value.