Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Surprise jump in health insurance coverage, claims

October 22, 2008
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Surprise jump in health insurance coverage and claims - HFANZ

Health insurance coverage has shown resilience in the September quarter with modest growth in lives covered, despite deteriorating economic conditions, according to the Health Funds Association (HFANZ).

Health insurers recorded an extra 5500 lives covered in the three months to September 30, 2008, an increase of 0.4 percent bringing the total number of New Zealanders with health insurance to 1.395 million, HFANZ executive director Roger Styles said today.

“There was an expectation of a reasonably flat quarter, following a slowdown in growth in the June quarter and the economy going into recession. So the increase is a bit of a surprise,” he said.

In the 12 months to the end of September, 13,500 more people took out health insurance policies, representing 1.0 percent growth on the September 2007 year. Significant gains were noticed in the 60-64 age bracket, where the number of new policies grew 6.6 percent in the year.

Claims paid in the last year jumped 12.6 percent to $676 million – an increase of $76 million on the September 2007 year’s $600 million in claims. Mr Styles said tightening up of access to elective surgery in the public sector was a significant factor, leading to higher usage of the private sector. He also cited continued increases in healthcare costs which have been running ahead of general inflation rate in recent years.

“The CPI data out yesterday showed hospital costs had risen by 7.1 percent in the year to September,” he said.

Despite the increase in coverage this quarter, Mr Styles said the immediate outlook remained relatively flat, which could cause greater pressure on public hospitals.

“Because the private sector funds around 60 percent of elective surgery, people with health insurance are relieving significant pressure from the public system. If health insurance growth continues to slow or even dips slightly, the pressure on public hospitals is likely to get much worse,” Mr Styles said.


ENDS. (Three-page statistical summary (PDF) attached.)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>

ALSO:

Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>

ALSO:

Divesting: NZ Super Fund Shifts Passive Equities To Low-Carbon

The NZ$35 billion NZ Super Fund’s NZ$14 billion global passive equity portfolio, 40% of the overall Fund, is now low-carbon, the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation announced today. More>>

ALSO: