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

 


Health Insurance Numbers Down 0.5 Percent

May 24, 2013
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Health Insurance Numbers Down 0.5 Percent

The first three months of 2013 saw a reduction of half a percent in the number of New Zealanders with health insurance cover, according to figures released today by the Health Funds Association.

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said this was in line with the previous two March quarters where the organisation had recorded a drop in the number of lives covered. Given the economic backdrop, this was expected.

Mr Styles pointed to ongoing uncertainty about how long exactly the wait was in the public system - to see a specialist and then have a procedure performed - as a key reason people were retaining health insurance.

“A good example of the public uncertainty is ACC declining more and more surgery claims, particularly for the elderly. This has forced thousands of people to turn to their health insurer to fund treatment, and many thousands more to join public hospital waiting lists.

“An even bigger issue going forward will be the flow-on effects from the reduction in public spending. The Government’s 2.2 percent increase in operating spending on health in last week’s budget was among the lowest in recent years, and there are signs that this may be the new normal,” he said.
“The Treasury will later this year set out some detailed policy options to further curtail public health spending growth. Some of these have already been flagged, including increased rationing in the public sector and greater use of patient co-payments.

“Though the future shape of public health cuts – or savings – is not yet known, a lot of people understand that increasingly they are going to have to pay for more and more of their healthcare costs. Health insurance will play a big part of this,” Mr Styles said.

Lives covered as at March 31 were 1.341 million – just on 30 percent of New Zealanders. This is expected to fall to just below 30 percent later in 2013.

Claims paid for the March 2013 quarter totalled $199 million, bringing the annual paid for the 12 months to March 31 to $880 million, up 4.2 percent on the March 2012 year.

Premium income for the March 2013 year was up 4.6 percent on the previous March year to a total of $1.102 billion.

Quarterly statistical summary: March 2013

This statistical supplement sets out key health insurance statistics for lives covered, claims and premiums over the previous quarter and 12 month period, together with commentary on changes and underlying trends.

Headline changes
• Lives covered down 6500 or 0.49 percent for the quarter; reduction of 0.75 percent for the year;
• Premium income of $280 million for quarter, up 1.3 percent on December quarter; annual premium $1.102 billion, up 4.6 percent on March 2012 year;
Claims paid for quarter of $199 million, annual claims paid for March year of $879.6 million, up 4.1 percent on March 2012 year claims.
Lives covered
Total lives covered as at 31 March 2013 stood at 1,341 million. This is a decrease of 6500, or 0.49 percent, over the March quarter and represents a reasonably significant decline following several quarters where lives covered were showing signs of stabilising. On an annual basis, lives covered declined by 10,100, or 0.75 percent.


Click for big version.

The March quarter traditionally shows flat or negative movement in lives covered, as lapses take effect while new lives covered are lower in the New Year. It is noted that the decline in the March 2013 quarter is of similar proportion to that in the previous two March quarters.

Trends by age-group
The charts below give an indication of trends over the past six years for different age groups. For most age groups, the past six years has seen either relatively stable numbers or a slight reduction in lives covered.

Premium income
Premium income for the March 2013 quarter totalled $280 million. This was up 1.3 percent on the December 2012 quarter, or up 3.6 percent compared to the previous March quarter.

Annual premium for the year ended 31 March 2013 was $1.102 billion, up 4.6 percent on premium income for the March 2012 year.

Claims paid
Claims paid for the March 2013 quarter totalled $199 million, up 1.8 percent on claims paid in the previous March 2012 quarter. Claims paid for the 12 months ending 31 March 2013 were $880 million, up 4.2 percent on March 2012 year claims.

Annual growth in claims paid has moderated since 2010, due to a range of factors including an overall reduction in lives covered, together with lower levels of health inflation.

Over time, the annualised growth in claims cost and premium income are broadly similar, although they may differ from year to year. A comparison of the past five years shows this, with claims growth demonstrating a greater level of volatility over the period.


Click for big version.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news