Health insurance flat-lining
The number of New Zealanders covered by health insurance in September was virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, and has been on a downward trend for the past four years.
Monday, October 29th 2012, 7:02AM 1 Comment
Latest figures from the Health Funds Association shows that the overall decline in lives covered over the past four years was around 3%, however 1.35 million people had health insurance.
The reductions in cover has been spread across the age groups and the largest reduction during the year has been in lives covered amongst those of working age.
While the numbers covered have been falling annual premiums grew 6.2% in the 12 months ending September 30, while claims paid increased 4.8% on the previous year.
Premium income for the year, totalled $1.1 billion, an increase of $63 million on the $1.02 billion in premium income in the previous year.
Increased premium income reflects adjustments following rapid growth in claims costs over recent years.
Health Funds Association chief executive Roger Styles said the vast majority of people were retaining their health insurance.
“People want peace of mind, and at the moment there is growing acknowledgement that the public system is not going to meet people’s expectations in the coming years,” he said.
He once again renewed the sector’s call that the government needs to address the issue of health funding and the role health insurance plays.
“There needs to be an open debate about future health funding. We need a long-term strategic plan outlining the direction and realities of funding, rather than ad hoc decisions, which do not give people time to plan or adjust.
“The only certainty looking forward is that people are going to have to pay a greater share of their own health costs,” Styles says.
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