Young and single or retiree? Is your family growing - or are your children flying the nest? Health insurance can give you faster access to private healthcare at any stage of life. Here's what health insurance does, and how it may evolve with your needs, but first...
Why health insurance?
You may have asked yourself this question before: Why do I need health insurance when the NZ public health system is so good? The short answer is - peace of mind.
Our public healthcare system does a great job at providing urgent care for medical emergencies. But what if your condition isn't immediately life-threatening, but surgery is needed for a better quality of life? These are called 'elective surgeries', and they include things like hip replacements, optical surgery, and even diagnostic and treatment of certain cancers.
Without health insurance, you'd only have two options: go on a waiting list, or pay out of your pocket to get treated faster in a private facility. With health insurance, you can avoid waiting lists and access high-quality medical care when you need it most.
Young and single
So you're young and in pretty good shape, have no dependants and little debt (if any at all). Is health insurance still worth considering?
The answer is yes - for a number of reasons. Though you may feel bulletproof in your 20s or 30s, life can be unpredictable and unfortunately, there are many circumstances that are outside your control.
At your age, you could secure comprehensive cover at an affordable cost. The younger you are, the lower your premiums are likely to be. Plus, the healthier you are, the fewer exclusions or loadings your policy is likely to carry - meaning any medical conditions that may arise later in life, after you have cover in place, will be covered.
Are you and your partner planning for a future together? As a young couple, having health insurance allows you to focus on the things that matter most to you - like starting a family or buying a home - without having to worry about the financial blow of an unexpected medical bill.
And again, being young and healthy could mean comparatively low premiums and few exclusions (depending on your health status and any previous illnesses or injuries).
If your family is growing, it can be a good idea to consider health insurance for you and your children.
As a parent, health insurance may help you stay on top of your health and get back on track faster, right when your kids need you most. And it may only cost you a few dollars to add your children to your policy. If they keep the same policy, any medical conditions that may develop after cover is in place will be covered.
Have your children flown the nest? You may be thinking about downsizing your home, and perhaps using the money to satisfy a whim or two.
These are also the years when the likelihood of a health insurance claim gets higher, and premiums increase. It's important to keep affordability top-of-mind and make sure you have just the level of cover you need.
If your kids are financially independent, for example, you may have some extra budget to reinforce your cover by adding useful extras. Or you may be able to drop a few add-ons that were part of your family policy.
Some would say that retirement is when you stop living at work and begin working at living. Whether you're up for an adventurous retirement or don't mind a slower pace of life at all, staying healthy is crucial and health insurance can help you take care of this.
But remember, insurance premiums tend to rise quickly as you get older, so keep an eye on costs. By reviewing your policy, you can make sure you're not paying any more than you need to.
Looking at health insurance for the first time?
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Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.