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Cover For High Risk Illnesses Key To Trend

MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday 21 April 2005


Cover For High Risk Illnesses Key To Reversing Trend

A decline in the number of New Zealanders taking out health insurance has led Sovereign to develop a unique health insurance product that provides cover for specific, high risk illnesses in return for lower premiums.

Sovereign’s Head of Marketing and Product Development, Vena Crawley, says a combination of industry issues and government initiatives in healthcare have contributed to the decline in recent years.

“Sovereign wanted to develop a product which re-ignited wide appeal in health insurance for the general market. We consulted our advisers and customers extensively over recent months in developing this product, Key Health. It covers treatments and procedures for major joint replacements, cardiac and heart conditions, and invasive cancers. These three areas account for more than half of our total health insurance claims each year and make up a significant proportion of the country’s health bill and waiting lists”.

“A major benefit in developing a simple and more focused insurance product is the impact on premiums - Key Health pricing starts from around the same cost as a cup of coffee per week. Across the board Key Health premiums will be significantly lower than traditional products which cover a wider range of conditions”.

“Its appeal is that it puts private health insurance back within the reach of everyday New Zealanders. People can now opt to pay upfront for day-to-day or routine healthcare requirements, and have a specific insurance plan in place to seek private treatment for any of the three major conditions covered.”

According to Ministry of Health research into the New Zealand population in 2000, between 35-40% of all deaths are related to cardiac conditions, whilst 27-30% of all deaths are related to cancer. Around two thirds of New Zealanders don’t have health insurance and rely on the public system.

Mr Crawley says the New Zealand healthcare system is going to be under tremendous pressure over coming years as the aging population drains limited resources.

“A sizeable part of New Zealand doesn’t want to purchase health insurance products that cover the wide range of conditions and services provided in the private sector currently. We believe offering cover for specific, high risk conditions will appeal to a large number of New Zealanders who otherwise would be without any form of cover. We expect to see more products like Key Health in the market in the future.”

In addition to the launch of Key Health, Sovereign has repackaged and simplified its full major medical flagship healthcare product, which will now be called Sovereign Absolute Health.

Ends.

Please note: product overview for Key Health, including typical premiums is below

Sovereign is New Zealand's largest life insurance company, its largest home-loan lender outside the four major trading bank groups, and fifth largest investment company. We meet the financial service needs of over half a million customers. More information on Sovereign can be found at www.sovereign.co.nz


Sovereign Key Health at a Glance
Sovereign Key Health provides 100% reimbursement of covered reasonable charges - up to a maximum of $100,000 per life assured, per lifetime - incurred as a result of a medical procedure to treat the conditions covered below:

Conditions covered:
Major joint replacements
Cardiac and heart related conditions
Invasive cancers

Covered Healthcare services include:
Medical hospitalisation - private hospital
General surgery - private hospital
Cardiac surgery - private hospital
Pre admission and post discharge - private hospital or day stay clinic

Covered Expenses include:
Hospital accommodation fees:
Physician/specialist fees
Diagnostic fees
Ancillary hospital charges e.g. prescribed medication and physiotherapy
Anaesthetist fees
Cardiac surgeon and perfusionist fees
Cardiologist and radiologist fees

Key Health premiums examples:
Premiums start from as little as:
$3.48 per week ($181 pa) - 18 year old
$5.64 per week ($293 pa) - 33 year old
$14.75 per week ($767 pa) - 55 year old

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