Advice matters
Continued rise in numbers reflects value people get from health insurance

The continued rise in the number of New Zealanders covered by health insurance – now totalling 1.409 million – reflects the ongoing value people are getting out of it, the Health Funds Association (HFANZ) said. Media Release November 11, 2019.

Releasing its latest statistics for the September quarter, HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said the total number of lives covered was up 2200, or 0.2 percent, for the quarter and 7900 or 0.6 percent for the year to the end of September, with the vast majority of that growth once again in the 25-40 age group.

He said employer-subsidised health insurance plans were continuing to prove attractive to both workers and their bosses as part of the focus on wellness in the workplace.

“In addition to the availability of wellbeing and wellness initiatives that many of our insurers now offer, health insurance means getting a better level of service through faster access to treatment when it’s needed and increasing options to access treatments and drugs not funded or provided in the public sector,” he said.

The year also saw an increase in the number of older New Zealanders with health insurance, which Mr Styles said was due to the ageing population and an acknowledgement by many policyholders that maintaining their cover was sensible in the face of increasing difficulty accessing public-funded healthcare such as elective surgery. The number of people aged 65 and over with health insurance grew by almost 1700 or 1.0 percent to 166,400 – around 22 percent of the 65+ population.

Mr Styles said claims paid were up to $369 million for the quarter, an increase of 7.9 percent on the September 2018 quarter. Claims paid for the year to September 30, 2019 totalled $1.362 billion, up 7.8 percent or $98 million on the previous September year.

Premium income for the quarter was up $9 million on the June quarter to $428 million. Annually, premium income rose $143 million or 9.3 percent to $1.659 billion.