The Cost of Good Health

19 May 2017

The Cost of Good Health

With all the increases in costs of living and comments about the rise in grocery and petrol expenses, it is interesting to notice that one area where people expect prices to remain constant is in healthcare. Curiously, rather than carrying out regular reviews for the level of insurance in place to cover them should an accident or illness demand medical treatment, many people are happy to retain the type of cover set up when they first took out their policy or leave things to chance.

The insurance with the highest percentage of claims made for those who have it, is medical cover, (Around $57million was paid out by one company alone last year), and we thought it would be helpful to let you know some of the average prices for medical procedures in NZ today.

According to figures supplied by New Zealand’s largest insurer’s claims department, the cost of a knee replacement is between $24 and $28,000. Hip replacements are around $28-33,000 and Cardiac Bypass surgery is a whopping $45-60,000. As we get older, the likelihood of requiring one or more of these procedures becomes greater, and currently there are 4 options if you need to obtain the funds to pay for surgery.

1- Use funds that you may have put away into savings for such an emergency- This will unfortunately deplete funds that you may have been squirreling away for another reason such as holidays, children’s education or retirement.

2- Sell something to the value of the cost of the surgery required- This will leave you without the item which you had worked so hard to buy in the first place and were probably using, and may only provide you with a fraction of the cost.

3- Borrow funds from the bank- This will cost you additional funds in interest payments and it may be hard to get an approval for the amount required when the bank hear that you are going to be off work for some time recovering, and therefore unable to earn an income to cover the loan repayments.

4- Insurance- the surest and most cost effective method as the funds will be available as long as you have paid your premiums and have fully disclosed any previously known health issues at the time of applying for your policy.

Many people rely on the public health system to provide adequate help when the time for a medical procedure arrives, but with numbers of medical specialists in NZ declining as they head overseas to earn higher incomes, waiting lists are getting longer, and in many cases, treatment is scaled on the severity of the illness on a needs basis. ACC, the other option which many people hope will help to cover the expense, will only come to the party for treatment required as the result of a specific event, so problems developed over a period of time will not actually be covered, and nor will operations required as a result of natural wear and tear, such as hip and knee replacements.

As with any insurance, the time that you know you need the treatment, is the time that it’s too late to get cover put in place. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that there will be pre-existing conditions which you won’t be able to get covered. While you may feel young, fit, bullet proof and indestructible right now, it won’t always be that way. That’s why it’s a good idea to call an independent Insurance adviser now, to get the right plan put in place so that the cost of your continued good health won’t be compromised or out of reach when you need it.

Published In The Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

John White - who has written 90 posts

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