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

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news