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

 


Health insurance boost first since 2009

Health insurance numbers are showing signs of growth after more than four years of decline, in a reflection of New Zealand’s improved economic outlook, according to the Health Funds Association (HFANZ).

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said when releasing the figures today that the number of New Zealanders with health insurance had improved by 800 in the December 2013 quarter, on the back of growing employment and economic confidence.

“It is a good sign that we’ve seen a return to positive growth in the number of policyholders largely on the back of an improving economy. As things gain momentum over the next year or two, we will likely see further growth in the number of lives covered.”

Mr Styles said there was some anecdotal evidence that the role for employer-subsidised health insurance might get a boost as the labour market tightens and firms looked at wider benefits in an attempt to attract and retain staff.

“This is all a reflection of our rock star economy,” Mr Styles said, using the phrase coined by global bank HSBC to describe New Zealand’s strong predicted growth this year.

Total lives covered by health insurance as at December 31, 2013 stood at 1.336 million, an increase of 800, or 0.1 percent, over the past quarter and the first quarterly increase recorded since June 2009. 2

On an annual basis, lives covered declined by 11,300, or 0.8 percent. For the past five years, the number of lives covered has been trending downward, with a reduction of 60,000 lives covered – or around 4.4 percent – since December 2008. Mr Styles said the declining trend had flattened out over 2012 and 2013.

Claims paid for the December 2013 quarter totalled $242 million, up 5.2 percent on claims paid in the December 2012 quarter. Claims paid for the 12 months ending December 31, 2013 were $943 million, up 7.7 percent on December 2012 year claims.

Mr Styles said the claims paid in the December quarter were the third-highest recorded for a quarter, with the highest having been the $256 million paid out in the previous September 2013 quarter.

“Total health insurance claims paid are on track to reach a billion dollars this year, underpinning the valuable contribution health insurance makes to total health spending,” he said.

Premium income for the December 2013 quarter totalled $293 million, up $6.5 million or 2.3 percent on the September 2013 quarter. Annual premium income for the year to the end of December was $1.140 billion, up 4.3 percent on the December 2012 year.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Fringe Review: Rossum’s Universal Robots

Written in 1920 by Karel Capek in a newly independent Czechoslovakia, its prophetic tale of artificial intelligence, automata and human morality was initially a big hit, but it then vanished from view, in New Zealand at least, before being revived in Hamilton last year. More>>

SELECT FRINGE SHOWS:

Pictures Of Media: Call For Photographs For Reimagining Journalism

In August this year Freerange Press is launching its next big book. This time we are gathering the best writers and thinkers in the country to look at the changing media landscape in New Zealand. To illuminate and give voice to the writing we want to include around 25 excellent photos. We want these photos to document the different aspects of how journalism is made, how it used to be, and how it is changing. More>>

Safer Internet Day: Keeping Safe Online More Important Than Ever

Tuesday 9 February marks Safer Internet Day. Safer Internet Day is designed to create awareness about the importance of Internet safety and encourages positive use of technology - with a strong focus on young people. More>>

ALSO:

We Have The Technology: Zephyrometer Up And Moving

“The needle’s stoppers had to be repaired because of the extra impact caused by the balance not being correct. We also added an extra 300kgs counter-balance – made from zinc coated steel triangle plates. These adjustments will now stop it bending low over the road in high winds.” More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Day: Treaty Of Waitangi - Found In Translation

To celebrate the Society of Translators and Interpreters's 30th anniversary, over 90 translators will work together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages... More>>

ALSO:

Northland Development: Trust Applauds $4m Government Funding For Art Centre

Today's announcement of central government support, made by Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce, provides a key step forward in funding for Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre & Wairau Maori Art Gallery. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news