To avoid public health waiting lists and forking out for surgeries and procedures not covered by the public healthcare, Kiwi families are turning to private insurance. But, how do you choose the right cover?
We asked nib Insurance for some pointers on health insurance for New Zealand families.
Is it worth it?
With free GP visits till your child turns 13 (if eligible) and a public health system that does a good job of providing access to treatment for life threatening illnesses and emergencies, health insurance may seem redundant. It isn’t though.
Often non-urgent and non-life-threatening conditions that require elective surgery can go into a waiting zone and that may impact your child’s quality of life. It’s at this juncture smart parents fall back on the insurance policy they took out when they welcomed a new member into their family.
Besides, with insurance you set up your child for later in life. So, when your child turns 21 and is ready to pay for their health insurance, they will be covered for medical conditions they may develop later in life – provided they stay on the same policy, with the same insurer and the policy terms include cover for that condition. As a parent you’d be giving them a fantastic gift to secure their health.
When is a good time to get health insurance for a child?
Sooner the better. It is suggested that you have your baby added to your own health insurance policy as soon as possible after birth. The risk of not getting health insurance for your baby as soon as possible is that if they develop a medical condition you may find it difficult to get that covered by health insurance at a later time as it will likely be treated as a pre-existing condition.
What are some of the cover options available? How do I choose?
Broadly there are two main kinds of health insurance plans, one that covers everyday needs such as dental, prescriptions, etc and a second one that covers big stuff like surgeries, specialist consultation, hospital stay, etc.
Choosing the right plan depends on your family’s individual circumstances, needs and budget. nib’s Hospital cover is popular with families as some health conditions that children face require surgical intervention but may come with a hefty price tag and long waiting lists. For instance, grommets through private health services can cost $2,500 – $3,500 and adenotonsillectomy can cost $4,000 – $5,500.*
What are the costs of insurance for families?
The cost of your health insurance will depend on things like how many family members are insured, age of those insured, what the policy covers, the excess (if any) as well as other factors. For example, with nib’s Hospital cover policies an excess is the amount you have to pay towards the cost of insurance claims in a policy year. Choosing a higher excess usually means you’ll pay a lower premium.
You should shop around, because some insurers are more family-friendly than others. For instance, currently with nib, you can get Hospital cover for your child free for up to a year with any new adult Hospital cover purchased. This offer is only available until 14 May 2019. Terms and conditions apply. See nib.co.nz.
What are some tips when it comes to choosing your insurance provider?
Ask around for the insurance providers’ reputation for paying out claims. Friends and family members who have insurance can chip in with their experience. Look for things such as their customer service, product range, claims process, financial stability, etc.
Compare prices before buying. It is important to compare apples for apples though; make sure you understand the benefits of the two policies you’re comparing. Managing a family budget is not an easy task. Become a smart shopper by making the most of the offers on the market – even when it comes to insurance.
*Based on nib claim statistics as at June 2016. This is an illustration of treatment and costs you could expect to pay if treated in private hospital. This is not representative of conditions covered on your policy or the amount that would be paid by nib in the event of a claim.