Health Insurance – Can you afford not to have it?

Autumn 2012

Health Insurance – Can you afford not to have it?

At one time, health insurance was only for those who preferred to use the private health system. But times have changed. With the cost of medical treatments and the availability of new procedures and drugs increasing, more and more New Zealanders are going private.

While urgent treatment is always available through the public system, people can find themselves in a slow-moving queue for those ailments that aren’t immediately life-threatening.

The solution

Health insurance eliminates waiting on public waiting lists, getting you treated and on the way to living normally again as soon as possible. That is its primary benefit for most people, and why it is worth considering.

There are other benefits from private health insurance including allowing overseas treatment, accessing different treatments, treatments not available in the public system and assisting with family support in time of crisis or rehabilitation.

To help you decide whether you should consider health insurance, ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Is it likely that I would require medical treatment  sometime in my life?

2.  Can I afford to cover it myself if I don’t want to wait six months or more?

 Surgery is expensive, listed below are some examples of common procedures (with indicative costs as at January 2010):

Cardiac bypass (heart surgery)                                  $37,000-$45,000

Total Hysterectomy (surgery)                                     $10,000-$13,000

Radiation Therapy (1 course of treatment)               $15,000-$27,000

Knee Replacement                                                      $19,000-$23,000

Knee Arthroscopy                                                        $4,000-$5,000

It is an unfortunate fact that most of us do not get through life unscathed. Health insurance provides peace of mind that, if the unforeseen does happen and the public health system cannot help you, you can afford to get expert medical treatment when you really need it. Contact Eric James & Associates for information and advice about your own situation.

Young, fit, healthy…stroke sufferer

Allan loves sport and the great outdoors, both playing a big part in his decision to move to New Zealand eight years ago. He had already been here on a number of occasions, including one holiday where he cycled 4500 kilometres in a three month tour. Looking fit and younger than his 45 years, no one was more shocked than Allan, when out-of-the-blue he suffered a stroke.

Allan suffered the first of two strokes, at his home in Brown’s Bay, Auckland. Constant headaches had led him to have a full check–up, including an MRI, which gave no cause for concern. When it happened, Allan blacked-out and was roused an hour later when one of his clients phoned to check on his whereabouts. Fortunately his client recognised that something was seriously wrong, and immediately drove around to investigate.

He was then whisked off to hospital, completely oblivious to what was going on, and suffered his second stroke soon after arrival. The second stroke was more serious, and to make matters worse Allan fractured his spine in two places when he blacked-out and collapsed.

Allan remembers very little of the first 24 hours, in fact his memory continued to be hazy for a few months afterwards. He would find himself asking his girlfriend the same questions over and over. When he got home he felt very despondent and alone particularly as he couldn’t drive, exercise or even enjoy a beer! The timing was particularly bad as he had just started his own business.

Allan’s risk management adviser had planned how to deal with such a crisis. Because Allan’s business was so new he was not yet eligible for income protection insurance, but fortunately his risk management plan included both a Trauma policy and Major Medical Cover.

Allan received a lump-sum payment under his Trauma policy and a payment under his Major Medical Cover for his stay in a public hospital. Without this money he wouldn’t have been able to pay his mortgage and would have had to rely on friends and family for financial support.

Your Eric James & Associates advisor can help you identify the best cover for your situation.

Beating the winter blues

Most of us can relate to a feeling of low energy and motivation during cold, dark winter days. For some people, this also includes a feeling of low mood and even depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder – or ‘SAD’ – is the medical term given to this condition, which is estimated to affect up to 10% of people during their lifetime.

Other features of this condition are a tendency to withdraw socially, loss of interest in activities that one normally enjoys, oversleeping, and increased carbohydrate intake, which can result in weight gain.

While more severe cases may require the help of a doctor, there are a number of things we can do to reduce the chances of experiencing the winter blues or to help reduce the symptoms, should they occur.

¨      Exposure to sunlight is a logical step. Keep the home environment as bright and sunny as possible by opening curtains and blinds, and try to sit near windows at home and in the office. Whenever possible, get outside for tea and lunch breaks, even on cloudy days, as this still achieves a degree of sun exposure.

¨      Exercise is important to maintain fitness and to release endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormones). Force yourself to socialise and continue with usual interests and leisure activities, even if it takes more effort than usual.

¨      Be more aware of your diet, and ensure a daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as these contain vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which can help fight off colds and flu.

¨      Counselling can help with negative thoughts and their resulting behaviours, which tend to make the situation worse.

If you have tried these measures to improve the situation, or you are unable to find the energy to do so, then you should discuss the situation with your doctor.

Congratulations to…

Our latest Christchurch barrel draw winners are Helen and Tim Sheehan of Parklands, seen here with Eric James & Associates Christchurch Advisor Peter Taylor (left).

Congratulations also to Auckland barrel draw winners, Charlene and Clint Bruce from Whangaparoa.

If you’ve moved, let us know

Amidst the upheaval of moving house, finding a new school and navigating the potholes of life’s highways, it’s easy to overlook tasks that are vital to your well-being, such as having adequate insurance cover, and advising us of your change of address.

If you have relocated or plan to relocate, it is crucial you let us know. We will not only update your records, but advise your insurer/s, leaving you with one less thing on the list to do.

Either phone or email us





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