News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Health Insurance Industry Welcomes Affordable Healthcare

February 28, 2013

Health Insurance Industry Welcomes Affordable Healthcare Bill

The Health Funds Association (HFANZ) today welcomed the announcement of a New Zealand First member’s bill proposing:
• A 25 percent health insurance rebate for people aged over 65.
• The removal of fringe benefit tax from health insurance to incentivise employers to include health insurance in salary packages.

The Affordable Healthcare Bill, unveiled by NZ First today, aims to encourage people to contribute to their elective (non-urgent) healthcare costs in a way that is consistent with supporting the public health system.

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said this would help sustain the country’s health system in the face of increasing costs, overstretched resources and an ageing population.

“The proposals in the Bill are forward-thinking. We have advocated for some time measures which can help restore balance in our health system. The initiatives in this Bill have the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars in public sector health costs over the next decade and increase workplace productivity.

“The industry has been concerned about the impact – particularly on employers and the elderly – of medical health inflation, so measures that go some way towards addressing this and helping more people access or maintain health insurance are welcome,” he said.

The Bill states that if more people aged 65 and over maintained their health insurance, they could have greater choice of elective surgery and shorter waiting times. It proposes a 25 percent rebate on premiums, up to a maximum of $500 a year, to be paid by the Ministry of Social Development direct to SuperGold cardholders.

For those of working age, the Bill encourages more employer-funded health insurance by scrapping FBT on workplace health plans. This also aligns FBT treatment of health insurance with insurance under the ACC scheme.

Mr Styles said many employers chose to subsidise health insurance for their staff.

“They are not just being a good employer. There are clear, documented benefits to those employers from having a healthier workforce, who are able to access prompt medical and surgical treatment when they require it, and be back to work sooner.”

He said the long-term benefits of both proposals were significant. Encouraging retention of health insurance into old age would ease the pressure on public hospital resources and help address the unsustainable growth of public sector spending for elective procedures. Encouraging more employers to offer workplace health plans would help grow the overall pool of people with health cover and increase productivity.

“Our estimates suggest any fiscal costs will be substantially offset by savings in the public health sector over the medium term,” he said.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news