Health insurance, sometimes referred to as private medical insurance. This type of personal insurance coverage provides you with a way to avoid public waiting lists, and access the best medical care when, and where you need it.
Note: In an emergency situation, for example, a car accident, the New Zealand public healthcare system will take care of you and generally does a good job. For any non-urgent situation such as a health issue, medical treatment via our public healthcare system can take time, with long and sometimes difficult wait lists.
How does it work and what’s covered?
With health insurance, you can access treatment in a private hospital and your insurance company will pay (either reimbursing you or paying the health treatment provider directly). This means that you won’t be subject to a potentially lengthy wait via our public hospitals. Usually, this also means that you have a wider range of treatment options, hospitals, and medical specialists available to you.
A good health insurance plan will cover 100% of your major medical expenses (minus any “excess” amount you may have selected, that’s the part of the bill that you will pay). This includes things like surgery, hospital charges, etc…
It’s also common for health insurance plans to cover specialist and test costs both before and after your treatment in the hospital. Additionally, health insurance plans will often pay for a range of “medical diagnostic” costs, for example, angiograms, CT scans, MRI scans etc…).
There are also health insurance plans for specific treatments for example Cancer Care only.
Optional extra cover is available?
You can choose an extra “Specialists and Tests” add-on. This means that specialist and test costs are covered, even if you don’t need to go to the hospital (for example a referral by your GP to have a test done or have a consultation with a specialist). This can be a good add-on to have because multiple specialist visits or tests can be quite expensive.
Some plans also offer add-on cover for day-to-day medical costs, like GP visits and Dental charges and/ or extra non-PHARMAC and Chemotherapy.
Who can apply?
New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, and people on a 2-year + work visa are all eligible for health insurance coverage. When applying for a health insurance plan, the process is fairly straightforward. We can help you determine who and what is the most appropriate health insurance plan for you and your family.
An application form and declaration of any previous medical conditions or illnesses you’ve had is important, and this helps the insurer assess your application, which may result in exclusions on the health insurance plan for any pre-existing conditions. This is a standard process for all insurers we work with. However, there are options with some insurers who will provide health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions following a three-year continuous membership.
Once accepted, you’ll be required to pay insurance premiums, either fortnightly, monthly, or annually. Some insurers provide a discount when paying annually.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.
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