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Accuro policyholders to retain non-Pharmac-funded drug benefit

Accuro Health Insurance Society's policyholders need have no fear that they will lose benefits when it merges with Union Medical Benefits Society, known as UniMed, both organisations say.

Tuesday, October 31st 2023, 6:28AM 2 Comments

by Jenny Ruth

Some agents have contacted GoodReturns with concerns that, in particular, UniMed could use the 30-day clause in Accuro policy contracts to remove the benefit funding drugs that Pharmac doesn't fund.

“If the transfer proceeds, then there will be no change to existing cover or benefits as defined by existing Accuro product policy terms and conditions,” Accuro chief executive Lance Walker told GoodReturns.

Special meetings today and on Nov 20 are to vote on the merger and, if they're in favour, the merger will also need Reserve Bank approval.

UniMed chief executive Louise Zacest said her company also offers cover for non-Pharmac-funded drugs and that these policies will continue unchanged, should the merger be approved.

“If the proposal goes ahead, Accuro's current products with current benefits would continue to be offered to members and in the market,” Zacest said.

“Both organisations share the same philosophy and values with a commitment to members' health and wellbeing and believe that combining the resources and capabilities of the two societies will help deliver long-term sustainable and secure benefits for members.”

The combined organisation, which will continue to operate both brands, will claim nearly 10% of the health insurance market with more than 140,000 member customers, behind Southern Cross and nib.

Tags: Accuro

« [Opinion] Why did Southern Cross cancel an interview with its CEO?Fidelity opens up on turnaround times »

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Comments from our readers

On 31 October 2023 at 10:48 am lifeadviser1 said:
Lance's response that "If the transfer proceeds, then there will be no change to existing cover or benefits as defined by existing Accuro product policy terms and conditions" doesn't address the concern that UniMed may exercise those very policy terms and conditions to change an existing cover or benefit.

With respect to the advisers who are concerned about this possibility, this is a known risk of policies that don't have guaranteed wordings. The non-Pharmac benefit was never guaranteed, not sure why they're expecting some sort of guarantee now?
On 31 October 2023 at 8:46 pm JPHale said:
Those of us that have been through these things in the past are a bit cynical. When the deal is being done it is all rosey.

Once the ink is dry and reality sets in, things often change. Might take a couple of years to happen though.

A case of if they are so clear and confident on this, then step up and guarantee policy wordings. It's not a difficult thing to do, and we have others that have done it.

A policy wording guarantee doesn't stop the provider from improving cover, but it gives the policy holder security their cover will be there when they need it.

The recent example of Southern Cross’ behaviour is the example here. A change of leadership and attitude is all that's needed for it to go pear-shaped for policy holders.

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