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500 people a week taking out health insurance


A record additional 26,500 lives covered in the year to the end of June 2018 means 500 more people have been taking out health insurance each week, the latest industry data reveals.

Health Funds Association (HFANZ) chief executive Roger Styles said today a large proportion of this growth seemed to be among businesses focused on the wellbeing of their employees.

“Health insurance offered as part of an employment package is often partly or fully subsidised by employers, and we have seen another year of positive employment growth playing a part in this,” he said.

“Health insurance is increasingly forming part of employers’ overall wellness packages, and is commonly sought by employees as something they expect and value as part of the job.”

Southern Cross Health Society CEO Nick Astwick agreed, saying that, alongside a rise in the number of businesses insuring the health of their people, it had seen an upsurge in interest from employers in the area of wellness.

“We know, from research such as the Wellness in the Workplace* survey, that Kiwi businesses recognise the need to support the wellbeing of their people,” he said. “Health insurance is an important part of that. In addition there is growing demand for holistic workplace wellbeing programmes like BeingWell.”

Overall health insurance coverage had risen consistently over the past three years, with around 60,000 more people covered than in June 2015. Mr Styles said it was not just the working age population causing the rise – an increasing number of those aged over 65 were continuing to maintain health insurance cover as they aged.

He said there was evidence those over 65 were retaining health cover because they saw the value in it, together with the certainty that they could access timely healthcare treatment if and when they needed it.

“In the year to June, the number of people aged 65-plus with health insurance increased by 5400, or 3.4 percent to 164,000. At the same time, healthcare claims for those 65-plus jumped by 9.7 percent to $403 million, which shows the significant contribution private health insurance makes to funding healthcare for older New Zealanders,” Mr Styles said.

Key stats:

Lives covered up 9100 (0.7 percent) for the quarter; up 26,500 or 1.9 percent for the year;
Premium income of $383 million for the quarter, up $10 million on March 2018 quarter; annual premium $1.483 billion, up $88 million (6.3 percent) on June 2017 year;
Claims paid for quarter of $331 million, up 10.4 percent on previous June 2017 quarter; annual claims paid for June year of $1.242 billion, up $89 million (7.8 percent) on June 2017 year claims.


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