Making medical insurance affordable as we get older is vital to ensure we receive the quality and speed of medical care when we need it most. Just about every week, we read about someone who needed medical care and did not get it, and how the health system failed.
New Zealand still has an excellent public health system, but at some stage, the ever-increasing costs for care, new procedures, drug treatments, and an ageing population can only mean a strain on the public health system and the tax dollars that go to fund our health system.
We only have a small taxpayer base who contribute to taxation that ultimately funds our public health system. In New Zealand, like most countries, healthcare is a mixture of public and private funding and provision. We are slightly more dependent on public financing (at 80 per cent of healthcare costs) than the OECD average.
The New Zealand public system does a good job of providing access to treatment for serious illness and emergencies. However, for non-urgent health conditions, there are often delays in accessing treatment, and this can make life difficult, especially if you are on a waiting list for six months and keep getting pushed back because of the eligibility criteria.
Non-urgent treatments include hip and knee replacements, cardiac procedures, colonoscopies and cataract removals. This is where affordable health insurance will make a big difference in your quality of life.
However, going without treatment for these conditions can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Further, these treatment delays are likely to get worse over the next decade, as demand for medical treatment is rising faster than the country’s ability to fund it through taxes.
This means New Zealanders will either have to pay for their non-urgent healthcare costs or wait longer for treatment in the public system. Private medical insurance offers people the peace of mind that treatment can be obtained in a timely manner and that all or most of their future treatment costs will be covered.
Health insurance makes an enormous contribution towards the health and well-being of New Zealanders, funding around half of all elective surgery. In 2016–17, health insurers funded over $1.1 billion in healthcare treatment costs.
How do you get affordable medical insurance?
When you take out private medical insurance, make sure that you can choose higher optional excesses to offset premium increases as you get older.
Having excess options may make the difference whether you keep your medical insurance or cancel it because of cost. If you would like to review your existing medical insurance or want to talk about your private health insurance options, please contact us anytime.