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Health insurance premiums rose 8% in the June quarter: FSC

Premiums collected by health insurance companies jumped 8% to $2.24 billion in the June quarter compared with the March quarter, according to the latest data released by the Financial Services Council (FSC).

Monday, November 13th 2023, 9:05AM 1 Comment

by Jenny Ruth

Claims paid in the June quarter were up 9.5% to $1.8 billion compared with the March quarter.

FSC chief executive Richard Klipin attributes the growth to the impact of the covid pandemic.

“The broad theme in health insurance is that covid is a big explainer on a number of issues,” Klipin says.

“When we were all locked down, it meant people couldn't access health services unless it was an absolute emergency. What we've seen is that covid has also led people to focus on health, effectively taking much more responsibility for their own health outcomes and wanting to increase choices,” he says.

The over-burdened public health system that the covid crisis revealled has also helped drive more people to take out health insurance.

The FSC data shows more than 1.45 million Kiwis had health insurance in the June quarter, up 1.2% on the March quarter.

The latest data includes figures from eight health insurers but data for the year ended June 2022 included only six of these companies. Klipin wouldn't say which companies were not included last year, but says all eight are now contributing data.

That does mean comparisons with the same quarter last year would be misleading.

However, the data for the year ended June 2021 did include all eight companies, Klipin says.

So the latest premium numbers were up 19.1% on June 2021 while claims paid were up 17.6% and those covered was up 2.1% compared with June 2021.

Klipin says having private health insurance gives people more choices about their health and wellbeing.

“Unexpected health issues not only impact Kiwis physically but also impact us mentally and financially. Relieving health issues and delivering peace of mind swiftly is something that a good health system can provide.”

Tags: FSC

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Comments from our readers

On 13 November 2023 at 1:55 pm wilf said:
Of course health insurance is important but some bold statements here.

Over the 2 years to June 23 Mr Kiplin is saying numbers are up 2.1 per cent which is less than population growth over the same period as per stats NZ. So penetration that is the per cent of the population with health insurance seems to have fallen marginally. Different than the FSC PR message.

With premiums up 19.1 per cent over 2 years and customer numbers up 2.1 per cent there has clearly been price rises of around 8 per cent per year. Of course this reflects claims but if this continues (and we all know it likely will) affordability becomes an even bigger issue.

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