This month I’ve provided some information on Private health Insurance for you. (Abbreviated from the website “Sorted”)
The older I get the more I realise the benefit of this type of cover. I had to have a procedure a while back. Because it wasn’t considered serious by the Public Health System, I would have had to pay for it myself (about 4ks worth).
My health insurance paid for it and it was done within 10 days - That’s peace of mind!
Have a bit of a read and flick me an email if you would like to know more. I can provide costs and benefits for all the main insurers for you - Sth Cross, NIB, AIA, Partners Life and Sovereign. It doesn’t cost any more going through a Broker or Adviser.
Fast-tracking your health
The advantage of health insurance – although you may end up with exactly the same surgeon as you would in the public system – often lies in cutting down the wait times involved. While the public system will treat you right away for anything life threatening or for serious injuries from an accident, you’ll usually end up on a waitlist if it’s not as urgent.
How much of a wait are we talking about? One industry study found that it took on average 100 days longer for surgery if you were on the public list rather than on a private one. In the public system, the average time from the first GP referral to having surgery was 224 days; those going private would generally be seen by a surgeon a couple of weeks after the first visit.
How to save on health insurance
Shop around and uncover the discounts. By carefully comparing what the insurance companies are offering and getting quotes, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time. The way you pay your premiums – such as by direct debit or annual lump sums – may also reduce your costs.
Live well and save. There are a number of discounts available for those with healthier lifestyles, such as for those who don’t smoke or drink too much, exercise and eat their fruit and veg.
Take advantage of group rates. If your employer offers health insurance, for example, a ‘comprehensive’ policy that covers everyday medical costs may be worth it. These workplace-based policies are also cheaper because their cost to you is not typically based on your age, but rather where you work, and employers are often able to negotiate much better group rates because of the strength in numbers.
Getting in early is also key – at a younger age, health insurance premiums are much cheaper. New packages from insurers aimed at twentysomethings, for example, can start at $1 a day or even as low as $4.95 a week. While these may not cover surgery, you can claim for everyday things like visits to your GP, dentist, physiotherapy and glasses. And because insurance does not usually cover for ‘pre-existing conditions’, starting early solves that, too.
You can also reduce the amount of coverage you buy, such as by choosing a higher excess or a lower coverage of say $100,000 instead of $300,000. (According to Southern Cross, there is no single private procedure in New Zealand that would cost as much as $200,000 – almost all last year were below $100,000.) If you choose a higher excess, you’ll need your emergency funds available at short notice just in case.
By focusing on the big risks – skipping comprehensive coverage for day-to-day medical costs and choosing ‘hospital-only’ or ‘hospital and specialist’ policies – you’ll ensure you’re protected from the highest health costs that might hit.
And all the while saving on premiums along the way.
This blog is general information only. For specific advice in relation to your circumstances a Licensed Financial Adviser should be consulted
Bob Sinclair is the owner and director of Sinclair Solutions