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Health insurance coverage up

News release - for immediate use
14 December 2006

Health insurance coverage up

Thousands more New Zealanders signed up to major medical health insurance in the September quarter according to statistics released by the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).

An increase of 10,700 lives covered was recorded for major medical insurance in the September quarter. This was partly offset by a drop of 6,400 lives covered by comprehensive health insurance, meaning a net increase of 4,300 lives covered in the quarter.

At the end of September a total of 1.362 million New Zealanders were covered by health insurance, up 11,000 on September 2005.

HFANZ Executive Director, Claire Austin, says the industry is pleased that the number of people with health insurance is continuing to grow, despite recent increases to premiums on the back of general health sector inflation and higher claims costs.

“More New Zealanders are becoming aware of the benefits of having health insurance, including the fact that they can avoid public waiting lists for elective procedures. People are also aware that the earlier you take out health insurance the better.

“Recent data collected for some common elective procedures shows private health insurance funds a similar number of procedures as are carried out publicly each year.

This is good news for the Government too, as it helps relieve pressure from the public system. The statistics show a 6% jump in the value of claims paid for the year to September 2006, increasing $32 million from the previous year to $567 million.

ENDS

Health Insurance Statistics Sept 2006 (PDF)

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