Health insurance – to pay or not to pay?

Spring 2012

Health insurance – to pay or not to pay?

Did you know that around 1.4 million Kiwis have health insurance? With a good public health system why would such a significant number of New Zealanders choose to pay for health insurance?

We are fortunate to have a good public health system in New Zealand but it’s not without faults, and there are never any guarantees that you’ll get the care you need or in the timeframe that you need it. The public health system is well equipped to handle emergency situations but for anything else you may find yourself on a waiting list for treatment with no certainty around how long you’ll be waiting. Furthermore the public health system does not cover all treatments and costs so you may be limited with regards to the treatment you receive.

Health insurance allows you to access the treatment you need, when you need it, and in a private hospital of your choice.
If something happens to you and you aren’t able to access the treatment you need straightaway you may find yourself digging deep into your pockets to fund the treatment yourself. This can result in a very hefty bill when you add up all the appointments as well as the actual treatment itself.

Health insurance takes away the worry of how you’d pay for treatment, giving you peace of mind and certainty about your future.
Some health insurers cover drugs that aren’t provided by the public health system, giving you more options at a time when you don’t want restrictions placed on your future. Here’s how it works – Medsafe is the Government agency responsible for registering drugs for safe use in New Zealand. Pharmac is responsible for selecting which of those drugs will be funded in the health system. There are many Medsafe registered drugs that Pharmac have determined will not be funded in the health system, but are funded by some health insurers.

With the right health insurance policy you can have more choice over your treatment.
Health insurance is an investment in your future and is worth considering for the above reasons and more. If you are interested in health insurance, or if you have questions about your current policy, start by talking to your Eric James and Associates adviser.

If you have to get your cheque book out here’s how much it’ll cost you…

How much will it cost you (as at January 2010 incl. GST)
Cardiac bypass (heart surgery) $37,000 – $45,000
Angiogram (diagnostic test) $3,600 – $4,400
Angioplasty – with 2 stents (heart surgery) $17,000 – $20,000
Total hysterectomy (surgery) $10,000 – $13,000
Prostate removal (cancer surgery) $10,000 – $12,000
Radical mastectomy (breast cancer surgery) $8,300 – $10,000
Total hip replacement (surgery) $18,000 – $22,000
Hernia repair $5,400 – $6,600

How old is your heart? Know your numbers

Cardiovascular disease (including heart disease, stroke and blood vessel disease) is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for 40% of all deaths annually. In many cases these deaths are preventable.

The New Zealand Heart Foundation has an online tool that enables you to calculate just how old your heart is. ‘Know Your Numbers’ lets you see how your blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI are affecting your heart.

You can also sign up for a personalised, tailored Heart Health Plan. The plan is emailed to you and will help you make some simple lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. What’s more, you can visit the website for a range of healthy living tips and recipes, information on food facts and heart conditions to help put you and your family on the right track to a heart healthy lifestyle.

The link between cardiovascular disease and certain risk factors like being overweight and smoking are well documented. For more information on what the risk factors are and how to make lifestyle changes go to

Beef Stroganoff
A creamy classic – made healthier
What you will need
1 tbsp Tick-approved oil
400 – 500g lean beef, cut into strips
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp reduced salt tomato paste
375ml can low fat evaporated milk
1 tbsp cornflour

Heat oil in a frying pan, quickly brown the beef and then remove from the pan to rest.
Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
Combine the tomato paste, evaporated milk and cornflour, then add to the pan.
Stir in the beef and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Serve on rice or with mashed potatoes.

Three good reasons to review your insurance annually

1. Look after your investment.
You’ve already invested your time and money to have insurance, so like any investment it pays to make sure that it’s going to work for you, if and when you need it. This means checking with your adviser that you have the right type of cover as well as the right amount.
2. It won’t take long.
A review is quick and easy, and your adviser will do most of the work for you. Your adviser has already thought about what they need to ask you to see if you need to make a change to your current cover.
3. You never know when you might need it.
We all face the risk of becoming ill, injured or even dying prematurely. You’ve already acknowledged these risks by having insurance in the first place, but don’t become complacent and run the risk of not having the right amount of cover or the right type of cover for your current situation.

Congratulations to…

Our July barrel draw winners Rob and Kirsty Meates of Shirley, Christchurch, seen here with Eric James and Associates advisor Peter Taylor.

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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