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Majority Support For Health Tax Incentives

MEDIA RELEASE
23 July 2002


Majority Support For Health Tax Incentives:
Survey Sends Message To Political Parties


A strong political message comes from a recent Sovereign/AC Nielsen survey that reveals 79% of people without health insurance would take it up if their premiums were tax deductible.

The Sovereign/AC Nielsen omnibus survey sampled 1000 adults on their attitudes towards tax incentives for New Zealanders who have private health insurance. Of the respondents, 46% attested to owning private health insurance, and 53% did not, and 1% did not know. The survey showed strong support for tax incentives, even from non-policy holders.

This survey is the first in a series of independent research into the health sector by Sovereign, which is conducting the research to identify people’s health insurance needs.

The survey shows that two thirds (68%) of all respondents say the Government should “definitely” or “probably” introduce a tax incentive for health insurance. Those who have private health insurance were more supportive of a health tax incentive, with 73% in favour, however even those without private health insurance were supportive of an incentive, with 63% saying they would support this initiative.

Of this 63%, 79% said they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ take out private health insurance if there was a tax incentive.

Sovereign Head of Marketing and Product Management, Vena Crawley, says the survey shows people who already have insurance are likely to be supportive of a tax incentive, as they oppose having to pay twice for their health requirements that is through their taxes and again through their insurance premiums.

“What is also encouraging is the number of respondents without health insurance who would take it out if their premiums were tax deductible. Sovereign believes there should be public debate about whether it is fair for health insurance policy holders to pay twice.”

Sovereign says this is the first time a public survey has conveyed so strongly the desire for New Zealanders to have some involvement in managing their own health risks.

“Sovereign supports the State playing a strong, active role in providing healthcare. Sovereign believes that this means there is the need to bring State and Private closer together, and for there to be recognition for those prepared to take personal responsibility for their health.

“As a result of the survey findings, Sovereign believes the situation can be alleviated by the introduction of Government tax incentives.”

The Sovereign/AC Neilson survey showed that of the two thirds in favour of tax incentives the highest were men, and those who live in cities and who work fulltime.

Ends.


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