From the Health Funds Association:
More New Zealanders over 65 are holding on to their private health insurance, which the Health Funds Association (HFANZ) says is due to uncertainty over access to public-funded healthcare such as elective surgery.
Releasing its latest statistics for the December 2019 quarter today, HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said the total number of lives covered was 1.411 million, up 2800, or 0.2 percent, for the quarter and up 8600 (0.6 percent) for the year to the end of December.
Working-age people still accounted for most of the health insurance uptake, but he said growth in the over-65 age group was significant. That older age bracket with health insurance grew by 2200, or 1.3 percent, last year to 167,000 – around 22 percent of the 65+ population.
“2019 was not a great year for DHBs, with industrial action and other difficulties resulting in a reduction for the first time in over a decade in the number of New Zealanders having elective surgery. Even though the growth in jobs and population has slowed, health insurance numbers are growing because the over-65s see the real benefit of retaining their health insurance for prompt access to treatment when they need it,” Mr Styles said.
“Not only will they get faster access to treatment, but health insurance also provides increasing options to access treatments and drugs not funded or provided in the public sector.”
Mr Styles said claims paid were $363 million for the quarter, an increase of 5.2 percent on the December 2018 quarter. Claims paid for the year to December 31, 2019 totalled $1.379 billion, up 5.8 percent or $80 million on the previous calendar year.
Premium income for the quarter was up $12 million on the September quarter to $439 million. Annually, premium income rose $145 million or 9.3 percent to $1.695 billion.