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Bill aims to encourage health insurance

Insurance companies are welcoming a private member’s bill that would give people aged over 65 a 25% rebate on the cost of their health insurance and would axe the health insurance fringe benefit tax.

Friday, March 1st 2013, 9:56AM 3 Comments

NZ First MP Andrew Williams said his bill was a response to the lack of health insurance among people aged over 65.

“Seniors over 65 years often stop their insurance when their income drops and their premiums escalate, so a 25% rebate would encourage them to keep their health cover.”

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said they had advocated both the rebate and the scrapping of fringe benefit tax in the past as a way to boost private healthcare take-up.

Accuro chief executive Bruce Morrison has spoken in the past about the problem of people cancelling their policies just as they were needed.

Morrison said the Government should look to Australia, where half the population has health insurance, compared to a third of Kiwis. The Australian Government provides incentives for those who take out private insurance.

“Figures show that between 2004 and 2010, the government’s health spend rose from $7.6 billion to $12.7 billion, an increase of 41%.”

He warned the government would face an inability to fund the public system within 20 years.

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Comments from our readers

On 1 March 2013 at 1:09 pm Curious said:
About time I think. The over 65 age bracket needs whatever assistance available to maintain their health premiums. It is already a pressing issue, let alone what it will be in 20 years time.
On 1 March 2013 at 2:07 pm Mac said:
People over the age of 65 have five times the claims as those under age 65.
Logically, would it would be in the best interests of the health insurers to encourage those over 65 to discontinue their policies?
On 5 March 2013 at 10:45 pm Timmy said:
Instead, why not pump the rebate equivalent into the public healthcare system to benefit everyone, rather than just the elderly? Why should a select few, in this case those over 65 get an advantage? Sure, we have a duty to care for our elders, but this is not the way to achieve it.This sounds like a vote buying exercise for our friend Winston.

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