Health insurance closes in on $1 billion claims milestone
The health insurance industry will fund a billion dollars in health claims this year, according to statistics released today by the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).
The projection was made on the back of strong recent growth in the level of claims paid – up 9.4 percent to $962 million – over the year to March.
HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said reaching the billion-dollar level in 2014 would mark the huge contribution which health insurance makes to funding healthcare in New Zealand.
“At a time when the public sector budgets are constrained, it is important to remember that every dollar of healthcare funded through insurance is helping to free up resources in the public sector,” he said.
Mr Styles said New Zealand was at a crossroads for health funding, with all signs pointing towards people paying for a greater share of their health costs in the decades to come.
“People in their 20s, 30s and 40s know that the health system their parents’ generation have enjoyed is not going to be there for them to the same extent. They know that they are going to have to provide for a lot more of their own healthcare costs, and insurance will have a role to play there.”
Mr Styles also renewed his call for wider public dialogue about future health funding, saying there needed to be broader public engagement about the problem and the options for meeting the funding challenges.
“There is a huge role which health insurance can play in helping fund future healthcare in New Zealand. Policy measures to lift the numbers of people with health cover will need to be looked at alongside other options to contain public spending growth,” he said.
The March quarter also saw total premium income increase 0.6 percent from the December quarter and the number of lives covered virtually unchanged from December at 1.336 million.