Health Insurance | Medical Insurance NZ | Insurance Brokers

By: Brave Day  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Insurance, Insurance Companies, Medical Insurance

Save yourself months on the public health waiting list,
and get yourself back to work sooner.

The waiting list is not somewhere you want to be, particularly if you need to
take time off work. According to an international survey of GPs, New Zealand has
the highest proportion of patients facing long delays for elective surgery or hospital

If you needed surgery today, would you be able to pay upfront for private surgery?
Or would you be willing to wait, and maybe have to take time off work, for treatment in a public hospital?

BRAVEday usually recommends a medical policy tailored to give you 100% cover for hospital, surgical, specialist consultations and tests.

How to waste your money on medical insurance

Some medical insurance plans can be a waste of money, yet people like
them because they don't seem to cost much, and they give us a false sense of

Medical insurance could actually be costing you money if you have a policy that
covers you for GP's visits and prescriptions. With the cost of premiums for this type
of cover (above the base plan we usually recommend) being approx $500 per annum

Unless you're visiting the doctor 8 to 10 times a year (at $40 per visit), you may as well
just pay the doctor's fees directly.  The same applies to cover for dental and optical. 
The most you can claim on many of these policies is in the $600 range (and this is the
cost of the extra premium) - so unless you are claiming the full amount every year,
it's not a strategic decision.

Excess Options - how much you pay

Most insurance providers offer an option for you to pay an excess - in other words,
you pay up to a certain amount of the bill before the insurance pays the rest.

The higher your excess, the lower your premium. It's a trade-off between long-term, ongoing, predictable costs (your premiums) and short-term, one-off, unpredictable costs (your excess).

Excess options vary between companies and allow you to keep the cost of your premium down.

Look out for limits and maximums

Most plans cover costs in one of two ways.

  • The first option pays a total dollar value (for example, $250,000 per annum for surgery).
  • The second option gives a detailed list of the types of treatment covered and the maximum amount payable for each.  These maximums are then broken down for each part of the procedure (for example, surgeon's fee $5,000, theatre fee $2,000, anaesthetists fee $2,000). It's very easy for the costs to exceed the maximum in each area - in which case you'll have to pay the difference.

We recommend the first option, total dollar value, as it provides the most comprehensive cover. After all, you never know what's around the corner.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition is a health issue that you knew about, or suspected, before taking out health insurance. Most policies don't cover pre-existing conditions, but some companies allow them to be reviewed over a period of time.

Some insurers will cover a pre-existing condition and charge a higher premium. An example of this would be having a high BMI and still getting cover, but paying a little more.  There's a lot of variation in the offerings from different insurance companies, and your adviser can take you through all the different options to find the best one for you.

When should I get health insurance?

Get it when you're young and healthy - in other words, before you need it. It means you won't have any exclusions on your policy and you'll always be able to access the best private treatment.

If you add your children to your policy when they're born, you'll guarantee there are no exclusions. Most insurance companies let you add your child to your policy before they're 3 months old without any underwriting or an application form - they usually just need a written request and copy of the birth certificate.

Your adviser can handle all of this for you. It's always good to let us know if you have little people on the way; that way we can make a note to remind you.

How do I claim?

To make a claim, you need to complete a form and send it to your insurer along with any referral letters or other supporting documentation.  At BRAVEday we often sort and send the paperwork for people, and act as a client advocate. It's what we're here for.

It's really important to give the insurance company as much information as possible. This allows them to process claims quickly so you can either be reimbursed for treatment you've already paid for, or get pre-approved for treatment.

If the treatment you need is expensive and you're worried about the cost we always recommend pre-approval - that way you have one less thing to worry about.

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Insurance, Insurance Companies, Medical Insurance

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