Medical Insurance Costs In New Zealand

Medical Insurance Costs In New Zealand
A third of New Zealanders now budget for the cost of private health insurance, mainly to avoid long waiting lists in the publicly-funded healthcare system. The extra peace of mind is especially important for those in high-level employment or those running their own businesses.

The cost of elective surgical procedures for non-life threatening conditions is high for those not covered by health insurance, with operations for hip or knee replacement and varicose vein removal giving an enhanced quality of life but subject to major delays in public hospitals. Hip replacement charges run around NZ$15,000 to NZ$22,000, with knee replacements at the same price and varicose vein surgery between NZ$6,000 and NZ$9,000.

The heath insurance industry bridges the gap between life-saving and emergency procedures and elective surgery, and can be affordable for most age groups. The two main policy groups are Comprehensive Care and Elective Surgery and Specialist Care, provided across the board by industry professionals. Employers often offer group schemes as an incentive, thus keeping average costs down and protecting their businesses as well as their employees.

Purchasers of health insurance should note that the system works on a refunds basis, with most up-front costs needing to be covered by the patient and claimed for after treatment. Also, many modern cancer treatments, major trauma care and certain accident and emergency care are not provided in New Zealand's private hospitals. However, several private insurers offer useful options such as long-term nursing care and disability coverage.

For example, a 40-year-old male non-smoker would need to pay between NZ$1m511 and NZ$3,733 a year, choosing from a selection of seven insurers.

For the same man at age 60, the amount would vary between NZ$3,134 and NZ$7,614 over the same group of insurers, and at age 25 quotes vary between NZ$1,122 and NZ$2,597. Quotes for a single, non-smoking female are the same.

The above includes extras such as visits to the doctor, specialist diagnostic procedures and full cover for dental treatments and does not include an excess payment by the insured person. Costs can be reduced by excluding out-patient treatment and other inexpensive services and by agreeing an excess amount payable by you. It should be noted that, for some expensive procedures, the full amount will not be covered, leaving a shortfall to be paid by the patient.