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Employment growth gets credit for insurance increase

The number of New Zealanders with health insurance rose 25,900 to 1.38 million last year.

Thursday, February 22nd 2018, 6:00AM

The Health Funds Association has reported its latest statistics.

It is compiled without hard data from Partners Life or nib, because they are not members of the association. Those numbers are estimated.

Chief executive Roger Styles said, over 2017, the number of lives covered increased 1.9 per cent.

Around 19,000 of the additional lives covered were in the 20 to 64 age group, and 12,900 of them aged 25 to 39.

Styles said much of this could be attributed to a combination of general employment growth and an increase in the availability of employer-subsidised health insurance as part of a broader focus on wellness in the workplace.

“It is pleasing to see an increasing number of employers providing health insurance plans for their staff. They recognise that wellness in the workplace is important, not only for employee health but also as part of their new workplace health and safety responsibilities. The focus there has traditionally been on safety, but now the impact of health is receiving greater attention - not just the impact of the workplace on employee health but the impact of employee health on the workplace, such as through productivity and absenteeism,” he said.

Health insurance paid out $309 million in claims for the December 2017 quarter, up 4%, and $1.185 billion for the December 2017 year, up 5% – or $57 million – on the 12 months to December 31, 2016.

Styles said claims had doubled over the decade as more people had access to more services and treatments through insurance,


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