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More Kiwis take out health insurance

New Zealand has experienced the biggest jump in health insurance coverage in a decade, Health Funds Association (HFANZ) figures show.

Tuesday, February 14th 2017, 6:00AM

HFANZ has released its latest data, which shows there were 20,000 more people with health insurance at the end of 2016 than at the same time a year earlier, an increase of 1.4%.

In percentage terms, the biggest increase was in the 75- to 79-year-old category, up 8.2%, followed by 25-29, up 5.3%.

The greatest increase by number was in the 25-to-29 category, where there were almost 4000 more people with insurance over the year.

The amount paid in claims jumped 9.4%, to $1.136 billion.

“Insurers have reported strong growth in elective surgical claims over the year, as more operations are being funded by health insurance. This is a huge jump and reflects the sizable contribution private health insurance makes in the New Zealand healthcare system,” HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said.

The total number of New Zealanders with private health insurance cover stood at 1.36 million at December 31.

In the December 2016 quarter, lives covered rose by 5900, or 0.4%.

“People value the fact that health insurance provides certainty and timely access to treatment. Taking out health insurance means they are making a positive contribution to their own healthcare, at the same time as helping to relieve pressure on the public system,” Styles said.

The data does not include actual figures from Partners Life or nib, leaving HFANZ to estimate.

Tags: health insurance

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