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Things are looking up: HFANZ

Higher birth rates and young families taking out new policies have caused a surge in health insurance numbers in the year to the end of June, according to the latest figures from the Health Funds Association.

Monday, September 5th 2016, 4:56PM

The total number of New Zealanders with private health insurance cover stood at 1.348 million as at June 30 this year, up 14,100 or 1.1% on the same time last year. In the June quarter, lives covered rose by 6100, or 0.5%.

There was an increase of more than 7000 lives covered in the 0-4 age group during the year, or 12.3%, and a 6.4% increase in the 25-39 age bracket.

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said it appeared more young families were taking out new policies covering themselves and their children. New Zealand’s birth rate increased over the past year for the first time in four years, and young people had also been keen to take up the new types of minor medical health insurance policies available.

“Things are looking up. It’s pleasing to see young families are taking no chances regarding their healthcare. They realise the government can’t fund everything, and that they are going to have to take more responsibility for the healthcare of themselves and their children.”

Styles said these figures showed the fifth straight quarter of growth, and marked the strongest annual growth in numbers recorded since September 2008.

Regional figures showed the main centres were leading the way, he said, with Auckland, urban Canterbury and Wellington having the highest health insurance coverage, followed by Southland and Taranaki. All five regions were above the national average of 29 percent coverage.

“These areas are the best prepared when it comes to looking after their healthcare,” Styles said.

Total claims paid amounted to $1.076 billion for the year ending June 30, 2016 – up 6.2% on the previous 12 months. Claims paid for the June quarters were $290 million, up 10% on June 2015.

HFANZ is still relying on an estimate for Partners Life and nib’s annual report, because the insurers are not supplying it with data.


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