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Southern Cross offers special health insurance deal to iwi’s elders

Health insurer Southern Cross is partnering with Waikato-Tainui to offer up to $1250 a year for day-to-day cover to each of the iwi’s 14,000 kaumatua (elders).

Monday, May 2nd 2022, 10:43AM

At present, the iwi offers annual medical grants to registered members aged 60-plus. But for the first time, kaumatua can now use this money to pay for a basic Southern Cross health policy. At this point it doesn’t cover mental health issues, nor does it cover surgery.

Kerry Boielle, chief sales and marketing officer at Southern Cross, says the scheme is a first for the insurer. Kaumatua who take up the offer can access services such as GP visits, dental care, optometry, physiotherapy and chiropractic care up to the $1250 cap.

“This represents incredible value that they wouldn’t get anywhere else in New Zealand because we are members-only and a not-for--profit,” Boielle says.

For some in the community, the barriers to accessing day-to-day care are substantial. “If you remove these barriers, it can only be a good thing. Those barriers are very real for a lot of people. We feel really privileged to be able to make a positive contribution, working with Waikato-Tainui. It’s a pretty cool opportunity.”

Waikato-Tainui general manager heritage and identity, Glenda Taituha, says the iwi, with 80,000 tribal members, has always prioritised investment in its people, particularly when it comes to their health.

“We want to protect our valuable kaumatua and help them to stay with their tamariki and mokopuna for longer. Our kaumatua guide us and without them we would be lost, so we have huge aspirations to care for and protect them by increasing access to preventative healthcare,” Taituha says.

“We’re always looking for ways where we can create an impactful investment for our tribal members and this partnership with Southern Cross will help us to make sure they can live healthier lives.”

Southern Cross chief executive Nick Astwick says the opportunity to partner with Waikato-Tainui has been a huge honour and is a meaningful step forward in supporting the health insurer’s aspiration to improve health outcomes across the nation, including those in vulnerable communities.

“As New Zealand’s largest health insurer, we feel a huge responsibility to work with Māori to effect change. In these uncertain times, there has never been a more important time to support and protect health and wellbeing, and this is something we’re wholeheartedly committed to,” he says.

Southern Cross says it commissioned a survey from Kantar which shows 78% of Māori are concerned about access to good, affordable healthcare. Only 50% are happy with the standard of health (10% lower than the general population).

« Sale of Kiwi Insurance to nib completedCigna pays 93% of claims »

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