Health insurance is a way to avoid public waiting lists, and access the best medical care when, and where you need it.
In emergency situations, (like a car crash for example) the New Zealand public healthcare system usually does a great job. For non-urgent situations such as health issues, medical treatment in the public system can involve long and difficult waiting lists.
When applying for health insurance plans, the process is fairly straightforward. You can start a quote online with LifeDirect, and compare from NZ's leading health insurers. Once you've chosen your preferred type of insurance and insurer, you'll be required to fill out an application form and declare any previous medical conditions or illnesses you've had. This is important to your insurer as they may result with exclusions on your policy for pre existing conditions, this is a standard process for all insurers we work with.
Once accepted, you'll be required to pay insurance premiums at intervals that work best for you, such as fortnightly, monthly or annually.
How does it work?
With private health insurance, you can access treatment in a private hospital, and your insurance company will pay (they can either reimburse you or pay the health provider directly). This means that you won't need to join a public hospital waiting list, and it also usually means that you have a wider range of treatment options, hospitals, and medical specialists available to you.
A good health plan will cover 100% of your major medical expenses, minus any "excess" (the part of the hospital bill that you pay). This includes things like surgery, hospital charges, etc.
It's also common for plans to cover specialist and test costs both before and after your treatment in hospital. In addition, plans will often pay for a range of "major diagnostic" costs (like MRI scans, CT scans, angiograms, etc), even if you don't need treatment in hospital.
What extra cover is available?
Usually you can choose an extra "Specialists and Tests" add-on. This means that specialist and test costs are covered, even if you don't need to go to the hospital (for example a referral by your GP to have a test done or have a consultation with a specialist). This can be a good add-on to have because multiple specialist visits or tests can be quite expensive. Some plans also offer add-on cover for day-to-day medical costs, like GP visits and Dental charges.
Who can apply?
Usually any New Zealand citizen, permanent resident, or people on a 2 year Work Visa can apply.
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.