Why it's worth investing (plus kids cover)
Of all that’s important in life, our health is arguably number one. Or at least extremely high on the list.
It’s a little tricky to enjoy the good things in life, let alone handle its challenges when you’re not at your best.
And while those kale smoothies and regular gym classes are no doubt having an impact, no matter how fiercely we protect ourselves, unless you’re ridiculously lucky, health issues will crop up, particularly as you age. Because…well…that’s life.
We can’t escape this inevitability. But we can give our current selves peace of mind that we’ll be taken care of when that time comes, and our future selves a helping hand to recover well.
How? Invest in private health insurance.
Yes, it might feel like just another bill. Not exactly the most exciting of purchases, especially when that new car is calling, or those many other bills need paying.
And no, health insurance isn’t the cheapest of investments.
However, if you can afford it, I highly recommend prioritising it, even if it means cutting back on some other insurances. You may eventually be able to replace that stolen laptop, but your health is another story.
But isn’t New Zealand’s public health system designed to cater to everyone?
It’s true, we do have a relatively good public health system in New Zealand which works well in many circumstances, particularly for acute needs and ACC (accidents). But if you’re diagnosed with a non-acute medical condition, the wait on the public health system can be long and uncomfortable.
Or, if you decide to go private without insurance, the bill can be thousands of dollars, and then some.
Top reasons to invest:
- Peace of mind in knowing that when health issues do crop up, you’re taken care of.
- Faster access to treatment.
- Less financial stress.
- More choice over when you receive treatment.
- Potentially less time off work (if the condition is keeping you from work while you wait to be treated).
- The opportunity to choose your own specialist and hospital or treatment centre.
How do I find the best policy?
It’s important to shop around. While price is important, it's not the only factor to consider, as there is a wide range of benefits offered from different providers. A good advisor will have a wide range of options available, and be able to give you advice on the best policy for you.
Look into different policies and check the fine print for things like:
- Exclusions – most policies will exclude certain procedures or treatments, unless you opt for the very top level of cover. At the very least, it’s smart to make sure all relatively common treatments are covered.
- Limits – often coverage is capped at a certain amount depending on the treatment. Check these are reasonable, especially for common conditions.
- Medications – get clear on what is and isn’t covered.
- Pre-existing conditions – some insurers cover these after a stand-down period. Check this.
- Excess – how much is this and could you afford to pay it? If not, you might want to look at alternative plans.
You may not be able to afford the best of the best, but deciding what’s most important to you (and what covers your highest risks) is a good starting point.
As awareness of mental health builds, insurance companies have started to take this into account when it comes to their service offerings. Some insurers will provide some mental health cover such as clinical psychologist consultations, however these are currently often limited, unfortunately.
I have found one insurance provider - Accuro - a not-for-profit health insurer who I’ve been particular impressed with when it comes to mental health cover. They’ve introduced their Mental Health Navigator.
This initiative aims to break down barriers by providing fast, comprehensive and confidential access to a team of mental health professionals.
It’s available to Accuro members who are on a Specialist Plan. With this service, members get connected to mental health professionals who review your condition, make a diagnosis, review an existing diagnosis and treatment plan and make recommendations for future steps.
It’s part of their Best Doctors service – another interesting initiative which provides members on certain plans with access to world leading specialists for second opinions.
It also includes other services such as access to New Zealand GPs and other medical experts online to ask questions, help finding leading local specialists and other online health resources.
What about the kids?
Much like us grown-ups, covering children can mean avoiding long public wait times for by going private and getting covered for many unexpected and costly procedures.
Accuro also seems to be leading the way in this area. It’s currently the only health insurer that offers a health insurance product designed specifically for the needs of children.
Their KidSmart policy provides private health cover without the child being attached to an adult’s policy, making it a great gift to a new grandchild, or loved one.
There are loads of benefits with this policy including:
- Free cover and no underwriting for babies up to six months.
- Children can be insured without extensive medical questions and examinations (that adults are generally asked for).
- You can cover all children in one family, but pay for no more than two.
- General surgery is covered up to $500,000 for just $29 per month.
- Children who sign up before 16 are covered until they are 25.
- You can claim $150 per year towards exercise-based activities such as sports fees, swimming and dance lessons (after 3 years years continuous cover).
- Conditions from birth are covered (if diagnosed after 3 months of age).
Need a hand?
As a financial advisor, I’m here to help you make the right choices for you, comes to insurance and home loans.
Get in touch and let’s get you sorted.
The Finance Marshall
0508 543 627