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Record $1.136b in health insurance claims paid in 2016

February 13, 2017


Record $1.136b in health insurance claims paid in 2016

Health insurers funded an additional $100 million in healthcare in 2016 as more Kiwis took out health cover, according to the latest figures from the Health Funds Association (HFANZ).

Claims paid for the year jumped 9.4 percent to $1.136 billion as insurers funded record levels of elective surgery, HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said today.

“Insurers have reported strong growth in elective surgical claims over the year, as more operations are being funded by health insurance. This is a huge jump and reflects the sizable contribution private health insurance makes in the New Zealand healthcare system,” Mr Styles said.

There was also a surge in the number of New Zealanders getting health insurance – up nearly 20,000 over the year – which Mr Styles said was the strongest growth in a decade. The total number of New Zealanders with private health insurance cover stood at 1.36 million as at December 31, an increase of 1.4 percent on figures from the end of December 2015. In the December 2016 quarter, lives covered rose by 5900, or 0.4 percent.

“People value the fact that health insurance provides certainty and timely access to treatment. Taking out health insurance means they are making a positive contribution to their own healthcare, at the same time as helping to relieve pressure on the public system,” he said.

“New Zealanders with health insurance are literally saving the Government hundreds of millions of dollars each year.”

Today’s release was the first time HFANZ had included in its data a category for minor medical policies, which offered a more limited range of medical cover at a lower cost. These typically covered some reimbursable items such as glasses, physiotherapy and GP visits but had limited or no cover for major surgery. Such policies accounted for around 50,000 lives covered – around 3.5 percent of those with health insurance.

ENDS (Full release and four-page statistical summary can be found by clicking link below)

Read full summary here

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