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When's an insurance scheme not an insurance scheme

Hon Jim Anderton

Progressive Leader
Member of Parliament for Wigram

12 May 2006 Media Statement

When is an insurance scheme not an insurance scheme

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton supports the pensioners who spoke out against the Southern Cross Healthcare hikes in its premium for the elderly in what Southern Cross Healthcare has called a 'rebalancing of costs'.

"Southern Cross Healthcare has lost sight of the insurance principle, which is paying when you are young and able so that as your income falls and health deteriorates, people get the services they expect and need – and have paid for during their 'healthiest years', Jim Anderton said today.

"Southern Cross Healthcare has reversed this long-term insurance principle into a policy which charges you more and more the older and more likely to get sick you are, with no account made for the early, healthy years when premiums were paid and no claims were made.

"New Zealanders need to feel secure about getting the healthcare they need when they need it, instead of being tied into a 'user pays' medical subscription scheme. The fact that the proportion of New Zealanders with health insurance has dropped from 50 per cent to 33 per cent since the early nineties reflects premium rises but also a confidence shift by New Zealanders in recognition that our public health services are being rebuilt and private health insurance is not to be trusted.

"The best role for the Labour-Progressive Government is to increase the capacity and efficiency of our public health system, making the most of our skilled medical practitioners, our excellent medical facilities and New Zealand tax revenue to guarantee a publicly funded first-world health service for all New Zealanders," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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