Do I really need health insurance?
Demands on our healthcare system continue to rise. Yet when it comes to health insurance, only around 30% of New Zealanders have cover according to the Health Funds Association of New Zealand.
When you are healthy and well, health insurance is the last thing on your mind. It's only when the unexpected happens that you start thinking about your treatment options and where you can access the best care.
Many people feel that because New Zealand has publicly funded healthcare they don't need to take out additional cover. To a degree that's true. The public health system looks after acute needs. However, if your needs are non-acute or diagnostic, you'll most likely go on a waiting list. And non-acute doesn't mean your condition isn't painful or debilitating.
In 2015, the Health Funds Association of New Zealand estimated that of the 280,000-people requiring elective surgery, more than half did not even qualify for public treatment. Waiting until your health deteriorates, or you've developed a pre-existing condition, is not the best time to take out health insurance. It only narrows your options and pushes up premiums.
5 reasons to take out health insurance
- Faster access to services, so you can return to work earlier. There are an increasing number of services offered by the private health sector that used to only be performed in the public sector.
- Choice of doctor, specialist or surgeon.
- More control over when and where you are treated so you can explore different treatment options specific to your needs.
- Potentially claim for treatments not subsidised by PHARMAC.
- Access to routine health screening offers.
While taking out health insurance doesn't ensure good health, it does buy you peace of mind, which in turn contributes to your wellbeing. Improving your wellbeing can improve your health. Our wellbeing is measured by several factors concerning how well we live psychologically, physically and socially.
You may have heard that Norway is considered the world's happiest nation (they took the crown from Denmark, the nation that topped the list in 2016). While New Zealand comes in at number eight, the number of people in Denmark with very high levels of wellbeing are substantially higher than in New Zealand.
Curious to see how your wellbeing compares to that of other Kiwis? To find out, take the short Sovereign Wellbeing Index questionnaire. http://www.mywellbeing.co.nz/mw/how-well-are-you-living-quiz/ It is the only national representation of how New Zealanders are faring on a personal and social level.
Sadly, New Zealand adults are increasingly obese with currently over a million people falling into this category. Predictions are that if obesity continues to rise at the current rate, New Zealand could be the fattest nation in the world by 2020. Bringing with it a host of health problems from so-called lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, take control of your health by making healthy food and drink choices, moving more, increasing your social interaction, relaxing often, getting adequate sleep, and continuing to learn.
And if you want to talk about the right health cover for your situation, call Reagan to discuss your options. He can walk you through the cover you currently have or let you know about which cover you should have.
If you are serious about kick-starting some new health habits, join our 7-day fitness challenge. You'll receive an email each day with a new exercise challenge for seven consecutive days. Each challenge will take 30 minutes or less. Take the first step to a healthier you and sign up now!
And remember, if you have any health concerns or injuries, be sure to check with your GP or healthcare provider before you start a new exercise regime.