If health treatments are free in New Zealand, why would you ever want health insurance?

At Super-Advice we are about all things financial, but more importantly, helping people understand so they can get ahead financially.

In today’s blog post we shed some light on why you would want health insurance even when health treatments are free in New Zealand.

What is an acute injury?

Let’s imagine that you are crossing the road and you get hit by a bus. You get scooped up into an ambulance and taken off the hospital and you get looked after, that is an acute injury.

There is no cost to that. There might be a cost for an ambulance, but there’s no cost for the hospital treatment.

If you need to stay in hospital for a few days, you’ll stay in hospital for a few days. And there’s no cost to that either.

What is a non-acute problem?

It’s when you have non-acute problems that medical insurance becomes a good thing to have.

For example, imagine that you’ve got a sore knee and you’ve had a sore knee for a number of months, and it gets to a point where it’s annoying enough for you to go and see your GP or family doctor.

You go and see your GP, and now you’re sitting in the consultation room and you explain your problem, and she looks at your knee and she says.

“Oh yes, I think I know what this could possibly be, but I’m going to have to refer you to an orthopedic specialist, a specialist that looks after these types of problems.”

At that point, you’ve got two options.

Option 1
Option one is you could see a specialist at no cost at all.

You would do that through the public health system and you would need to enter the queue. You could be waiting anywhere up to six months to two years to see that specialist because there are people in front of you that have been waiting a long time before you.

Option 2
Option two, you could go private and you could pay to see a specialist. And let’s say for argument’s sake, that it costs a thousand dollars. If you pay that you can see the specialist tomorrow at lunchtime because you are going private.

A health insurance policy that includes a specialist and tests feature will pay for all of that.

Fast forward to the future and you’re sitting in the consultation room of the orthopedic specialist and he takes a look at your knee and he says.

“I know exactly what that is, it’s very common.
We’re going to have to do a small surgical procedure”.

At that point, you are in the same position, you can either get it done for free by the public health system where you go back into a queue and it could take anywhere between six months and two years, again, for you to get in and to have your operation.

Or you could pay for the procedure which costs say $50,000 and you can do it tomorrow at lunchtime, your health insurance policy will pay for that.

The health insurance policy allows you to jump the queue.

What about prescribed drugs, will health insurance help with that?

In New Zealand, there is a list called the Med Safe List. This is the list of drugs that medical professionals are allowed to use legally in New Zealand.

If I take that list and cut it in half, that’s the Pharmac list, this is a list of drugs that the government will pay for.

There are quite a lot of drugs available on the Med Safe List but there are only so many drugs that the government will pay for.

Some insurance companies and their medical policies will cover the entire Med Safe List.

Some will only pay for the Pharmac list.

The reason why so many doctors come through to Super-Advice and say, I want this particular insurance company that I won’t name today, is because they pay for the whole lot.

So they are the two main reasons why you would have a health insurance policy and New Zealand, to jump the queue and to get the drugs that are not paid for by the government.

That’s a wrap

So what do you think? Has this changed your mind about Health Insurance?

If you need any financial help or advice please get in touch with us at Super-Advice.

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