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nib expands First Choice network

nib has announced an expansion of its First Choice network, which the health insurer says has delivered more than $1 million in claims savings in the first year of operation.

Tuesday, July 2nd 2019, 9:22AM

Justin Vaughan

The First Choice network was created after nib identified significant variation in the cost of surgical procedures across the country.

nib group executive benefits and provider relations Justin Vaughan said the network was designed to help tackle these huge surgical cost differences and in turn, ensure members did not have any unexpected costs.

“We think it’s absurd that having a knee replacement in Auckland costs 23% more than the national average but if you have the same surgery in Christchurch you’ll pay 10% less.

“There’s no clear reason or evidence to support these higher fees or that there’s better quality healthcare."

First Choice offers a network of medical professionals that agree to provide services and treatment within a determined price range.

Currently, 90% of nib members visit a First Choice network provider for treatment with more than 4500 payments made for surgeries each month.

“We know our members don’t like when they have to pay an out-of-pocket cost for medical treatment. By visiting a First Choice provider, it means they don’t have to, with 100% of their approved costs covered,” Vaughan said.

“Importantly, members can still choose to see an out-of-network doctor, however, they’ll have to contribute towards the additional costs they charge."

nib has expanded the popular network to include additional medical treatments for different specialties.

“We’re aiming to have 90% of New Zealand medical professionals in network to help us continue to better manage claims costs and keep premiums affordable for our members,” Vaughan said.

Tags: nib

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