A Guide to Health Insurance in New Zealand

Wondering why private health insurance is worth it in New Zealand? We run it down, including a look at why health insurance is still useful with ACC.

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New Zealand’s healthcare funding landscape is fairly unique globally, thanks to the Accident Compensation Corporation Act and a strong publicly funded healthcare system, including drug funding provided by Pharmac. However, even with ACC in place and Pharmac funding drug treatments, there are compelling reasons to consider private health insurance.

Introduction to the ACC and Its Coverage

New Zealand’s ACC system is a crown entity that provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all residents and visitors. It covers injuries from accidents, medical mishaps, and most types of work-related and non-work-related injuries. However, its scope, while extensive, isn’t all-encompassing. The main gap is that ACC doesn’t provide cover for illnesses – just accidents. And while Pharmac does provide drug funds, they don’t cover all treatments that are MedSafe approved in New Zealand, in particular certain types of cancer conditions.

Faster Access to Medical Treatment

One of the most significant advantages of private health insurance is the potential for faster access to medical treatment. While New Zealand’s public healthcare system aims to provide timely care, there can be waiting lists for certain non-urgent treatments. Private insurance often allows quicker access to specialists and elective surgeries, reducing waiting times and enabling faster recovery.

Opting for private healthcare can also often often mean more choice and comfort. This includes the ability to choose your own doctor or specialist, more flexible scheduling for treatments, and access to private hospital facilities. These aspects can significantly enhance the overall healthcare experience.

Health insurance can help with private medical treatment options.

Wider Range of Treatment Options

As above, Pharmac and ACC are two sources of funding for treatment of illnesses and injuries in New Zealand, however there are a range of options that are not publicly funded. Private health insurance can provide funding for access to a wider range of these treatment options. This includes access to private hospitals, a variety of specialists, and drug treatments. For those seeking a broader scope of healthcare services, private insurance is invaluable.

Complementary to ACC Coverage

As explained above, while ACC covers treatment and rehabilitation costs for accidental injuries, it doesn’t cover illnesses, non-accident-related medical issues, mental health, or preventive healthcare. Private health insurance can fill these gaps, ensuring comprehensive coverage for both accidental injuries and other health-related issues. It complements ACC, providing a more holistic approach to healthcare.

Financial Security and Peace of Mind

Health emergencies can be financially challenging. Private health insurance can offer peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered for a wide array of health issues, including those not covered by ACC. This can reduce financial stress and uncertainty in times of health crises.

Continuity of Care and Personalised Attention

Private health insurance often ensures continuity of care, allowing individuals to see the same healthcare professionals consistently. This can lead to more personalised care and a better understanding of individual health needs and medical history.

Additional Health Insurance Benefits

Many private health plans offer additional services like dental, optical, and preventive healthcare, which are not typically covered by ACC. These added benefits can contribute significantly to overall health and wellbeing.

While ACC and the wider public health system can provide excellent coverage and treatment options, private health insurance offers a complementary layer of security and flexibility. It provides faster access to treatment, a broader range of medical services, and peace of mind knowing that one is covered for a wider array of health concerns. In the unique healthcare landscape of New Zealand, having private health insurance, in addition to ACC coverage, represents a balanced and comprehensive approach to personal health and wellbeing.

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