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Expert comparisons of NZ health, life & disability insurance

Health Insurance

Health Insurance is a type of insurance coverage that protects your health in case an unexpected medical situation arises. It typically pays surgical, medical, and other health-related expenses incurred by the insured. Health insurance can reimburse the insured for expenses incurred or pay the hospital or treatment provider directly.
Private Health Insurance allows you to have access to private hospital treatment, which means that you won’t need to be a part of the public hospital waiting list. It also means that you have more treatment options and specialists you can choose from.
The New Zealand Public Health System is excellent for emergencies and sorts them out very quickly and efficiently. Where it falls down is with elective surgeries, tests, scans, and surgeries for things that are not deemed as an emergency. Health insurance gives you peace of mind in two main areas:
1. Much shorter waiting lists
When a health complication is in its early stages, it’s often difficult for a doctor to diagnose the level of its severity, as they are almost always working with limited information based on visual and physical symptoms.
Doctors typically will refer you for further follow-up and testing to find out more information on your health complications. This is where things can go wrong if you don’t have health insurance, as at this point, you often get put on a public hospital waiting list as you wait for further treatment or tests.
Public hospital waiting lists can be 4 to 18 months long before getting treatment. According to a survey by TNS research, waiting lists for elective surgeries at New Zealand’s public hospitals average 304 days. An increasing number of people are now waiting over a year. Half of New Zealanders surveyed believe waiting lists will become even longer over the next 10 years. This fear is reasonable. As New Zealand grows, hospitals will have to serve more people, and as our population ages, treatment loads will increase. Will DHB funding and resources keep up with demand? History suggests not.
Such long waiting times is risky if you are not sure of the severity of your conditions, because many things can change in your body over such a long time.
The risk you take with relying solely on the public health system is yours. Still, if you want more control over your health and the speed of getting answers and progressing treatment forward at pace, you can only get that peace of mind through having an excellent health insurance policy in place.
With health insurance, you can avoid all these problems by going directly to private hospitals for treatment, with the cost covered by your insurance provider. If you choose the right health insurance cover, you can get treated within 30 days.
We specialise in finding the right insurer for you, with the lowest market prices. This is all free to you. Neither we, nor the policy providers, add any extra cost or hidden fees.
2. Better treatment & options
Choosing the right health insurance cover means you can claim for 100% of private hospitalisation, treatments, tests, scans, and non-funded drugs (subject to their policy wording).
But choosing correctly is very important, because many non-funded drugs are not covered under most policies. Non-funded drugs are simply ones that the government does not subsidise. Unfortunately, this is a large number. The IQVIA report, commissioned by Medicines New Zealand, ranked New Zealand last for both access to funded medicines, and for pharmaceutical investment overall.
The report showed 304 modern medicines funded internationally between 2011–17 by countries such as the US, UK and Germany. Only 17 were funded in New Zealand.
Not many policies cover non-funded drugs. Only 3 insurers offer it. This is important if you need access to expensive treatments that are available across the world, but not funded under our public health system. You need to choose your policy really carefully, because the cost of having this cover is tiny compared to the cost of the drugs.

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FAQs

Who can get covered? Anyone who is a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident can get covered.
How much will it cost me to get Health Insurance? The amount of premium depends on several factors: age; gender; smoking status; excess; and additional options.
Will it cost me money to get your expert advice and assistance? No. Definitely not. Our expert advice and assistance are free. The price we quote you is exactly what you’ll get when you go directly to the insurer.
Does the quoted premium include GST? Correct, all quotes include GST.
Will my premiums increase yearly? Yes, health insurance premiums are affected by age, medical inflation (as new and more advanced treatments become available, health costs usually increase) and the amount of claims in a given year.
What are my payment options? Most insurers would let you pay through Direct Debit or Credit Cards. There are different payment frequencies available too like weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Most people choose fortnightly, but you can choose whichever you think suits you best.
When will my cover start? Your cover starts on the date you set.
What is a policy owner? A policy owner, as the word implies, is the owner of the policy who can make decisions and changes to the policy. Along with this is the responsibility to keep the policy in force by paying the premiums. In some cases, the owner of the policy isn’t necessarily the person insured in the policy. It can be you, then the person insured is your kid.
What is an excess? Excess is the amount deducted from the eligible claim payments for each Insured person from the commencement date (as applicable) until the excess amount is reached. It is applied to each insured person every policy year. If your claim is $5,000 and your excess is $250, you'd pay $250 and the insurer pays the rest.
What is an "exclusion"? An exclusion is something not covered by the policy. Some exclusions are built into the policy - for example, health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery. Usually pre-existing health issues are "excluded" from the policy. This means that the insurer won't pay for investigations or treatment relating to that issue.
Is pregnancy covered? Some plans offer cover for pregnancy and birth such as an obstetrician benefit, it does widely vary between insurers and most providers typically will not cover you in this area if you are already pregnant. Most providers don’t provide cover for fertility treatment, get in touch with one of our advisors for more information if you are interested in cover for this area.
Are pre-existing conditions covered? As a general rule, health insurers don’t usually cover pre-existing conditions. There are however exceptions to this rule, because different insurers assess medical conditions differently. This is why your Policywise advisor will ask you questions around this early in the process, enabling us to advise you which policy will offer you the best cover.
What happens if I don’t pay my premiums on time? Usually, insurers will give you time to update your payment details for up to three months. Otherwise, after the said period, your policy will be cancelled.
Do I need to provide my health history? Yes, and it is advisable for you to declare every piece of information you are aware of regarding your health history in the application process. Further information may be required from you or your doctor if necessary.
Does my smoking status have an impact on my insurance? Definitely. Those who have smoked within the past 12 months usually get higher premiums. But don’t worry, should you decide to stop smoking, just let us know and we’ll help you lower your premium.
Do insurers offer money-back guarantees? Yes. All of the insurers have a 14-day free look period. Upon receiving your policy document, you have up to 14 calendar days to cancel it and your paid premiums will surely be refunded back to you.
Do I need to update you of the changes in my circumstances? Yes. Please let us know via email anytime so we can update the insurer as well.
How do I file a claim? You can file a claim directly to the insurer or through us, then we will contact the insurer for you. We are also here to help you negotiate the claims you have in case you need any in the future.
I’m not satisfied with my existing cover, can you help me look for a better one? Definitely, we are experts in comparing different insurance providers. Just let us know what your existing cover is, and we’ll match it with something better for your circumstances.
Can I cancel my cover anytime? Yes, you can cancel your cover anytime you think appropriate. However, we strongly recommend that you keep it for your own protection or for your family’s sake.
What if I have other questions or concerns that are not listed here? That’s not a problem. Just chat with us or click here to book a meeting with an expert.

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