Avoid the waitlists and access the treatment you need.
What is health insurance?
One of the more common types of personal insurance, health insurance is paid out to cover medical expenses and private healthcare.
We’re fairly lucky in that the public health system in New Zealand does a pretty good job in emergencies, but for all of those ‘non-urgent’ (but still distressing!) scenarios, it can be tricky to get the level and timeliness of care you need. Health (or medical) insurance is a way to skip the long waiting lists and ensure that you can access the best medical care to get you back on your feet faster.
Are there different levels of cover available?
Health insurance can be quite varied, depending on your policy. This is great for different budgets, but it also means it’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered for you. All policies include cover for major expenses, like surgery and hospital stays, while some others also cover specialist appointments or diagnostic tests. Other policies can even include add-ons for day-to-day medical costs, like GP and dentist visits. It’s also worth noting that some policies only cover a percentage of medical costs, so it’s definitely best to talk to your advisor; they can help you determine what policy is right for you.
What happens if I already have some health problems?
When you make an application for health insurance, you will be asked to disclose full information about your medical history for the insurance company’s review. Most insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions, but they will advise you about any exclusions when issuing your policy. Your advisor can help you to navigate this process and get the best level of cover for your situation.
Do I need to pay my medical costs and then claim the money back?
In many cases, it’s a good idea to ask your insurer for ‘pre-approval’ for a medical procedure or appointment. As well as the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered, if this is granted, they are able to pay the health provider directly so that you’re not out of pocket in the meantime.
Does health insurance have an excess?
An excess in this case is the portion of a medical bill that you will pay, before your insurer covers the rest. In most cases, the size of your excess is up to you. Many providers and policies have the option to set the excess level (from nil to $2,500 or above), which has an impact on the premiums you pay in the meantime. Your advisor can help you understand the different costs so you can make a choice you’re happy with.