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Southern Cross expands into new territory

New Zealand’s largest health insurer, Southern Cross Health Society, is expanding into new territory and launching a new day to day ‘HealthEssentials’ consumer product with the affordable price point of $1 a day.

HealthEssentials is targeted at the 20’s and 30’s age groups, a demographic that has traditionally eschewed health insurance.

Southern Cross research carried out by TNS shows that 72% of the 20 - 39 market don’t have health insurance and, of that, 37% say they won’t consider getting it.

Despite this, they are users of day to day health services.

• In the last year 69% of the 20 - 39 age group went to a GP, 31% have been to a dentist or hygienist for a check-up, 19% purchased glasses or contact lenses and 17% went to an optometrist for an eye exam.

They are also users of technology.

Peter Tynan - Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive says, “With the aim of keeping things easy, members can get a quote, apply and manage their policy online.

“There has also been a mobile app released today. This is a first for New Zealand health insurers and enables members with HealthEssentials to claim and check their benefits.

“We first looked at day-to-day health services in 2012 and realised we needed to offer an entry level product with what would not be seen as traditional health insurance benefits.

“Research with the ‘under 40’ market told us that 45% worry about paying for day-to-day living costs and 37% their personal health.

“Whereas traditional health insurance covers you for unexpected health events and typically covers high costs like surgery, diagnostics and specialist consultations, HealthEssentials covers up to 75% of the cost of GP consultations, dental and optical costs, physiotherapy, acupuncture, dietician, chiropractor, osteopathy and remedial massage costs up to the policy limits.

Tynan says the product is designed for New Zealanders who want to take more responsibility for their health but struggle to relate to the need for full health insurance.

“Day-to-day cover products are well-established and popular overseas. Southern Cross’ own research shows that the top two benefits of these products are:
• it covers the essentials without blowing the budget 46%

• it minimises any financial surprises 45%.”

Of Southern Cross’ existing members those in the 20-39 age band claimed for 110,952 GP consultations, 29,335 physiotherapy consultations and 9,828 chiropractor consultations in 2013.


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