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Health Cost Savings for Over Half a Million New Ze

News Release
10 February 2008

Health Cost Savings for Over Half a Million New Zealanders

Research shows on average New Zealanders spend around $1,500 per individual, or $2,200 per family of four per year on out-of-pocket health and wellness costs such as purchases from pharmacies or fitness shops.

A new initiative launched today offers one fifth of all New Zealanders the possibility of saving hundreds of dollars on that health and wellness spend.

New Zealand’s leading health insurance provider is launching a card, called Southern Cross Plus, providing discounts and exclusive offers to members.

“This significant step ensures that we focus more on proactive and preventative health care,” said Dr. Ian McPherson, Group Chief Executive. “Traditionally health insurance has been about sickness and covering the costs of a medical event once it happens. Of course we’ll continue to provide that reassurance but we also want to make it more affordable for our members to preserve and enhance their current state of health and live healthy lifestyles."

Southern Cross’s large 830,000 plus membership, market leadership and brand strength has enabled it to develop and leverage relationships with a range of health and retail providers nationwide, striking attractive offers and exclusive discount deals for the benefit of its members.

There are sixteen partners to date encompassing the following areas: audiology, gym memberships, health foods, lifestyle (travel insurance), optical, pharmacy, physiotherapy, sportswear and vitamins, including well known chains such as Radius Pharmacy and Rebel Sports.

“People often believe major medical and surgical expenses are the significant part of their annual healthcare expenditure,” said Dr. Ian McPherson.

“But for the majority of us when totalled up, the largest amount we spend in a year on our own wellbeing is on small, regular out of pocket health and wellness related expenses,."

Savings in excess of $200 per year could easily be made using the example below, which shows how the Plus Card could realistically work for a family of four.*

• $50.00 glasses and prescription sunglasses discount at OPSM
• $15 discount on a subscription for NZ Gardner
• A second pair of shoes half price at Rebel Sports
• $7.50 off the recommended retail price of selected multivitamins with Good Health
• A free Zinc test at Radius Pharmacy
• $3 discount on a prescription at Radius Pharmacy
• And a free $50 Caci-Medispa voucher

“Discounts for wellness related expenditure such as sports goods, as well as health care are important,” said Dr. McPherson. “Physical activity and fitness help mitigate or prevent many illness or medical conditions. A good discount on a pair of sports shoes suitable for walking may be as beneficial as a discount on vitamins or health supplements."

“As a not-for-profit Friendly Society, better individual member health ultimately benefits all members. Providing incentives such as discounts on health and wellness expenses makes good health care sense."

Given the scale of the Plus Card mail out, they will be progressively sent to Southern Cross members over four weeks from 11 February.

* Selected terms and conditions apply with redemption of all Plus Card programme vouchers. Offers vary according to the demographic makeup of households.

ENDS

Plus Card Partners

Active Physio, Bay Audiology, Briscoes, Caci-Medispa, Configure Express, Eyepro, Good Health, Les Mills, Nestle, OPSM, Radius Pharmacy, Rebel Sports, Sanitarium Nutrition Services, Southern Cross Travel Insurance, Sunglass Hut, Weight Watchers.

Research

The research was carried out by TNS New Zealand Limited in April 2005. The study was a national sample of 400 people aged 30yrs or older. Maximum margin of error is at the 95% confidence level.

About Southern Cross:

Southern Cross Healthcare is one of New Zealand’s best known and most trusted brands, offering a broad range of health-related services to New Zealanders since the early 1960s. The Southern Cross Healthcare Group consists of two separate organisations – Southern Cross Medical Care Society offering health insurance and related services, and Southern Cross Health Trust, operating 10 wholly-owned hospitals and three joint venture hospitals along with Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

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