A Quick Way to Fast Track your Recovery

26 June 2015

Recently on two separate occasions during routine medical examinations, I have heard of people being asked, “Do you have medical Insurance?” prior to the Doctor advising of the next course of treatment. This could mean one of two things. One - a lot more people have signed up for health cover (we know this not to be the case) Two - the doctors are aware that the time to wait for treatment will be much shorter choosing the fast track of private health cover.

The advantages of having such an insurance have become more evident as more specialists move overseas leaving a shortage of experts in many medical areas, which in turn has led to longer waiting lists meaning that the chances of complete recovery are compromised if you are unable to receive treatment until such time that your condition has worsened.

For many people, the cost of such insurance is hard to justify when they are young, fit and healthy, but that is exactly the time that you should be considering getting such cover. Not only does the premium increase significantly once you get older, but also the older we get, the more likely we are to have health issues that may be excluded from any future claims. But health insurance claims are not just for the more mature among us as recent statistics from one of New Zealand’s largest Health Insurer show. The highest claims pay-outs were for spinal surgeries costing $151,000 and $160,000, but six further claims ranged from $91,000 to $100,000.

The report findings also broke down the top three procedures for different age groups and the amount paid out to cover the cost of immediate treatment. For those under 40, the surgical removal of teeth featured extensively, with over $10 million being paid out in the space of 12 moths. Tonsillectomies, Endometriosis surgery, Hysterectomies and medical consultations rounded out the age group.

As the age ranges get older, so do the requirements for medical treatments to replace failing body parts. Hip and Knee replacements which are classified under general wear and tear and consequently not covered by ACC accounted for $20,000,000 and 12,000,000 of claims respectively before the age of 70, but rather astonishingly for those who are 70+ over $23,000,000 was paid out last year for surgical treatments.

The scary thing is that these treatments aren’t going to get any cheaper and with knee replacements costing between $19,000 and $24,000, cardiac bypass surgery coming out at a whopping $50,000 and a single course of radiation therapy setting you back between $15,000 and $27,000, the means to self-fund these treatments in order to get a speedy recovery is beyond most people’s budgets. Consequently putting some insurance cover in place to minimise your risks is a sensible option. This could be Health Cover to manage the costs of surgery or consultants fees or maybe Trauma cover. Trauma insurance will provide a lump sum payment to help you cover the cost of treatment for a number of traumatic medical conditions (The most common being heart attacks, strokes and Cancers) ,but will also provide you with a financial buffer to allow you sufficient time for recuperation and rest before having to head back to work. There have been many cases in the past where patients have had relapses after returning to work too quickly because they felt the need to return to work to earn some money to pay the bills.

Also, the premium costs may not be as expensive as you would think. Health Insurance is the most expensive of the personal risk covers as it is the type of cover that is claimed the most. But to give you a quick comparison on whether the costs are good value for money, let’s use an average procedure cost of $25,000. If you are 40 and don’t need the treatment until you’re 65 then by saving just under $20 per week you would have the funds in your savings account if you are lucky enough to not need the procedure carried out before the end of 25 years. However, if you need the surgery after 10 years the amount required to be put into savings to cover the cost increases to just under $50 per week. The cost of surgical cover that would allow you surgical treatment when needed and without having to go on the public health waiting list could be less than $50 per month. A small price to pay for peace of mind to provide treatment when and where you want it!


This post was written by

John White - who has written 90 posts

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