What Role Does Private Health Insurance Play in NZ?

The New Zealand health system operates with a mix of publicly funded health care services and private options.

The New Zealand public health care system is considered reasonably universal, due to its availability to all New Zealanders and focus on emergency care and serious illness. However, private health insurance is also increasingly fulfilling an important function, particularly in ensuring access to timely non-urgent medical procedures and access to non-funded medications.

So, what role does private health insurance play?

According to the Financial Services Council (FSC), over 1.4 million or just under a third of people currently have health insurance in New Zealand (data taken from June 2021). Additionally, one in three of those with health insurance in New Zealand are under 30, indicating that younger kiwis are increasingly placing importance on health insurance.

Interestingly, there was an increase of $60 million of healthcare claims paid out in the quarter ending 30th June in comparison to the quarter prior to a total of $400 million, with a total of $1.5 billion paid out since July 2020, illustrating the increasing reliance Kiwis are placing on private health insurance providers, particularly with elective surgeries.

Benefits of private health insurance

The most significant benefit of private health insurance is the ability to gain fast-tracked care and avoid public waiting lists for diagnosis, surgery, or procedures. This is particularly the case for elective and non-urgent surgeries and increasingly more serious illnesses requiring diagnosis and treatment.

Importantly – as we discuss further below – health insurance can also provide those insured with access to Medsafe approved medications but not yet funded through Pharmac.

Other key benefits:

1. Choice – Health insurance can give you more options, such as selecting your preferred specialist or surgeon.

2. Extra coverage for non-Pharmac funded medication – The Medsafe approved medication list is far more extensive than the Pharmac funded medication list. And while there is often coverage for non-funded medication in private health insurance, it’s important to note there are limitations (primarily, coverage is restricted to Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy). However, often you can also purchase additional cover for other non-Pharmac funded medications.

3. Extra coverage for dental and vision care is available – dental care in NZ is covered only up to the age of 18, and there’s no provision for optometry.

4. Enjoy private hospital rooms – depending on your private health insurance plan and availability, private hospital rooms are often available.

Give yourself the options you deserve.

We all know that health is wealth, so it pays to be appropriately insured.

Fast track your care and minimise disruption to your life with NZHL’s Health and Trauma Insurance options.

Book an appointment with NZHL today to see what our Health Insurance can offer you.