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

 
Scoop Review Of Books: The Typewriter Factory

I finished reading Don’t Dream It’s Over not long after it came out last August. I even started writing a review, which took something of an ‘I’m sorry people, but it’s already over’ approach. I’ve been pretty negative about journalism as it’s practiced in the mainstream (or MSM, or corporate media or liberal media or whatever terminology you prefer) for quite some time (see for example Stop the Press), and I believe the current capitalist media model is destructive and can’t be reformed. More>>

Sheep Update: Solo World Shearing Record Broken In Southland

Southland shearer Leon Samuels today set a new World solo eight-hours strongwool ewe-shearing after a tally of 605 in a wool shed north of Gore. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Dick Frizzell At The Solander Gallery

One of the most influential and celebrated contemporary Pop artists working in New Zealand, Dick Frizzell is mostly known for his appropriation of kitsch Kiwiana icons, which he often incorporates into cartoon-like paintings and lithographs. Not content with adhering to one particular style, he likes to adopt consciously unfashionable styles of painting, in a manner reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein. More>>

Old Music: Pop Icon Adam Ant Announces NZ Tour

Following his recent sold out North American and UK tours, Adam Ant is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of his landmark KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER album with a newly-remastered reissue (Sony Legacy) and Australasian tour. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Looking Back

Writing a memoir that appeals to a broad readership is a difficult undertaking. As an experienced communicator, Lloyd Geering keeps the reader’s interest alive through ten chapters (or portholes) giving views of different aspects of his life in 20th-century New Zealand. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Purple (and Violet) Prose

This is the second recent conjoint publication by Reeve and Stapp; all to do with esoteric, arcane and obscure vocabulary – sesquipedalian, anyone – and so much more besides. Before I write further, I must stress that the book is an equal partnership between words and images and that one cannot thrive without the other. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news