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Southern Cross increases prescription cover for 330k members

10 September 2012

Southern Cross increases prescription cover for 330,000 members

New Zealand’s largest health insurer has increased maximums for its prescription benefit as it anticipates an upswing in the number of claims processed electronically.

Around 330,000 Southern Cross members are on health insurance plans with a prescription benefit. The maximum amount able to be claimed annually for prescription costs will be increased by between 50 to 100 per cent, depending on the plan type.

The new maximums come into effect on September 17.

Though the Government’s increase in prescription charges from $3 to $5 per item next year is expected to have an impact on the total levels claimed, the impetus for the increase was an expected growth in the number of members making prescription claims through the Society’s electronic claiming service.

Known as Southern Cross Health Society Easy-claim, the electronic claiming service enables members with a prescription benefit to claim ‘on the spot’ for qualifying prescriptions at the pharmacy counter by presenting their Member card. If the prescription qualifies for cover, the claim payment is sent directly to the pharmacy.

“Due to the ease of using electronic claiming, we’re anticipating more members will claim for low-cost services or items, such as prescriptions, that they may have forgotten about or not been bothered to claim for previously,” said Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Peter Tynan. “With electronic claiming, there are no claim forms to fill in and the member is not out-of-pocket while a claim is processed.”

Over 250 pharmacies nationwide are now offering the Easy-claim service. Electronic claiming is also currently being piloted by Southern Cross at several GP practices for doctors’ consultations and minor surgery, and at selected optical, dental, physiotherapy and audiology service providers.

The increase in prescription maximums is part of a recent review undertaken of the benefits and policy limits in all Southern Cross health insurance policies.

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