New Zealand has a great acute medical system – so if you have a heart attack or get run over, you’ll be well looked after.
However, if you need elective surgery, it’s a different story.
There are big differences between the offerings of the NZ private medical insurers, and one constant. All the providers will help you get access to private medical care, and therefore likely get you in for treatment sooner rather than get stuck on the hospital waiting lists, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Some have better Apps for getting small bills refunded sooner, some cover small claims best, but are not so good on the more serious, larger claim events. Some insurers restrict which medical providers they allow you to see, and some leave that choice to you (or your doctor). Some will cover you for treatment in Australia (giving you more options), others will not. Insurers have different payment limits and may not pay the full cost of your hospital treatment – and sometimes the funding gap can be huge and prohibitive.
Most insurers offer various options across the product range, such as adding specialist & tests cover, different excess options to suit your budget and loyalty benefits.
We believe the biggest and most significant differences between the insurers include:
Access to drugs from the Medsafe list, not just the ones funded by Pharmac, the government buying agency. The Medsafe drugs list includes all the drugs approved for use in NZ, no matter the cost. These are often the latest drugs with the least side-effects. These are the one’s you will want for your family if they get a serious illness. Sometimes Pharmac funds a particular drug, but not soon enough to make a difference, or it only covers certain areas of the body and not other areas. It can be traumatic to know the government will fund a particular drug, but not for your condition. Some insurers only fund non-Pharmac (Medsafe) drugs for cancer, other cover you for any condition.
Some insurers have Guaranteed Policy Wording, meaning they can never take any benefits away from your policy. Others can send you a letter and change your policy wording, for example to remove an insured condition which has ben costing them too much.
One insurer has Guaranteed Policy Upgrade, ensuring your policy does not become “lock in a time-warp” over time. The policy wording is upgraded to ensure it is the same as the latest product they are selling in the market. They improve your policy over time but can never make it worse.
Some policies are better for a workplace group scheme where pre-existing conditions are covered for all joining members.
Not all insurers offer the product directly to the public, that is because they want you to have the specialist advice and assistance that is available. This also gives you expert help at the time of claiming.
It’s a complex area and specialist advice is recommended before you invest in a Private Medical Insurance Policy for your family.
Best of all, getting this expert advice and help with claims does not cost you anything extra.