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Insurer urges select committee for affordable health bill

Media Release
Date 19 August 2015

Subject Health insurer urges select committee consideration for affordable health bill

New Zealand’s second largest health insurer, nib, has urged the Government to support Select Committee consideration of New Zealand First’s Affordable Healthcare Bill.

Rob Hennin, CEO of nib New Zealand, said that a recent Official Information Act release had confirmed that since 2007, ineligible patients from overseas had cost the New Zealand health system $200m and this was putting already stretched DHBs under enormous funding pressures.* “New Zealand should be following the lead of countries like Australia, the United States, Canada and South Africa, which have mandated that visiting non-residents to take out health insurance cover,” Mr Hennin said.

“New Zealand First’s Affordable Healthcare Bill is a sensible step forward to addressing this issue, which is a chronic burden on New Zealand’s health system,” he said.

Mr Hennin said it while the bill’s inclusion of provisions seeking the abolition of FBT on employer health contributions was a worthy objective, it was likely that this would allow the Government to use its financial veto on the grounds that it would have more than a minor impact on the Government’s fiscal position.

“That’s why it is important that this bill proceed to a Select Committee for consideration, so that the elements of the bill on which all parties can agree can be retained,” Mr Hennin said.

Mr Hennin said that nib looked forward to making submissions to the Select Committee and hoped that the Government would see this as an opportunity to address an issue that was having a serious detrimental effect on District Health Boards throughout New Zealand.

*Figures released under the Official Information Act showed the total cost of treatment for non-New Zealand citizens across the country's 20 DHBs has reached $199,859,842 since 2007.

About nib New Zealand

As the second largest health insurer in New Zealand, nib provides a range of health insurance options for New Zealanders, as well as for New Zealand companies who want health insurance for their employees. nib provides value for money and affordable health cover to more than 1.1 million people in Australia and New Zealand. With over 60 years' experience, nib is a Trans-Tasman business that offers innovative products and services, and great value for customers.

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