Network reduces claims costs for members
The First Choice network was created after nib identified significant variation in the cost of surgical procedures across the country.
nib Group Executive Benefits and Provider Relations, Justin Vaughan, said the network was designed to help tackle these huge surgical cost differences and in turn, ensure members did not have any unexpected costs.
“We think it’s absurd that having a knee replacement in Auckland costs 23% more than the national average but if you have the same surgery in Christchurch you’ll pay 10% less,” Mr Vaughan said.
“There’s no clear reason or evidence to support these higher fees or that there’s better quality healthcare,” he added.
First Choice takes away this cost uncertainty for nib members by offering a network of medical professionals that agree to provide services and treatment within a determined price range.
Currently, 90% of nib members visit a First Choice network provider for treatment with over 4,500 payments made for surgeries each month.
“We know our members don’t like when they have to pay an out-of-pocket cost for medical treatment. By visiting a First Choice provider, it means they don’t have to, with 100% of their approved costs covered,” Mr Vaughan said.
“Importantly, members can still choose to see an out-of-network doctor, however, they’ll have to contribute towards the additional costs they charge,” he said.
From today, nib has expanded the popular network to include additional medical treatments for different specialties.
“We’re aiming to have 90% of New Zealand medical professionals in network to help us continue to better manage claims costs and keep premiums affordable for our members,” Mr Vaughan said.
Members can search for a First Choice provider in their area by visiting nib.co.nz or calling 0800 123 642.