The main reasons are 2 fold.
1)There can be quite a long wait for some procedures in the public system.
2)There are some medications that are not funded by the public health system, that are very expensive and for some people very effective.
Cancer affects the lives of far too many Kiwi’s and cancer is the leading cause of death in New Zealand.
With a private health insurance policy, you can be treated for cancer in a private hospital by your choice of doctor.
Cancer care is usually included in a Major Policy, and will typically cover treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, psychological counselling and alternative treatments like acupuncture.
Having medical cover that provides non PHARMAC cover can be beneficial when Medsafe has approved the drug as safe, but PHARMAC does not provide funding.
Cancer drugs can be prohibitively expensive without PHARMAC funding.
Here’s Christine Manins story, as reported in North South Magazine
Christine Manins is buying time. It costs her more than $5000 a month.
"She was 44, and her children were nine and 11, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. The nearly $300,000 she’s spent on unfunded cancer drugs at various times over the past six years has allowed her to see her children grow up. It’s given them their mum.
“It’s the most wonderful feeling – it’s the gift I’ve given them. If and when I die, I’m okay with it now, because my children have had a mother. They’ll miss me, and it would be nice if I could be around, but they’ve grown up.”
While Manins is sanguine about the financial sacrifice, she’s upset that had she lived in Australia, where everolimus – one of the drugs she has paid for – is funded, she’d be almost $200,000 better off. “I didn’t realise you didn’t get drugs like Australia did. I thought if Australia got it, we’d get it. I really think people should understand that if you get cancer, you cannot expect best treatment in this country.”
When everolimus (marketed as Afinitor) stopped working for her in 2016, she switched to palbociclib (Ibrance), a new treatment that is not yet funded in Australia, either. She paid $70,000 for the first seven months of treatment in 2017, before the price dropped to around $5000 a month"
Let me know if you would like further information on Private Health Insurance