Asteron Life introduces mental health support, and more daily news

Asteron Life announced that the Best Doctors service will provide free access to different mental health experts to customers with disability insurance. The service will allow customers to access general advice as well as services from psychologists and psychiatrists. 

“Asteron Life today announced that customers with disability insurance will now have access to the Best Doctors service at no additional cost. The Best Doctors package provides direct access to a multidisciplinary team of mental health experts, including psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as general advice on mental health conditions and guidance on how to navigate the mental health system.”

Graham Hill, executive manager Life Distribution said that Best Doctors works to ensure customers are connected and make medical decisions with confidence. Graham continued by saying that having access to expert medical advice in the current environment is relevant while Mike Morris, the country manager of Best Doctors said that the importance of virtual care has been highlighted this year.

“Best Doctors connects our customers with leading medical specialists, and enables them to make medical decisions with confidence,” says Graham Hill, executive manager Life Distribution at Asteron Life. “Like insurance, the service is really about being there for people when it matters.”


Hill says that in the current Covid-19 environment, mental health support and the ability to get expert medical advice from your own home is particularly relevant.


Mike Morris, the country manager of Best Doctors has said “This year has shown us that virtual care is incredibly important and effective. There has never been a better time to offer people access to virtual care and we’re delighted to be bringing new services to Asteron Life customers.”” 

Asteron Life is offering advisers virtual training sessions. Times available are:

·       09:30am – 10:30am, September, Wednesday 9

·       09:30am – 10:30am, September, Thursday 10

·       09:30am – 10:30am, September, Monday 14

·       09:30am – 10:30am, September, Monday 21

·       09:30am – 10:30am, September, Monday 28


Click here to register

Click here to read more


In other news

RBNZ: Has the Reserve Bank responded differently to upturns and downturns in inflation and economic activity?

FMA: COVID-19 response insights

Financial Advice webinar: Panel Discussion: Obtaining or Updating your Level 5 Qualification in Financial Services


What chances for subsidised health insurance?

Grey Power and NZFirst are trying to put the idea of subsidised health insurance back on the agenda - refer this article in the NZHerald, by Nicholas Jones (if you have a subscription). 

The rationale advanced is that a person buying their own health cover is reducing the burden on the state health system. That is true when a hip operation is done at Mercy Ascot instead of Auckland Hospital, but it doesn't apply to all services. Many primary services are just not offered by the private sector.  The other is that the insurance and rebate approach really comes unstuck for the highest cost groups - including the elderly. Their care is massively subsidised by the rest of us, it has to be: something like 50% of all health costs can be consumed by a person in their last years of life. Modest rebates for older lives are really unlikely to make much difference either way to this equation. 


DAILY NEWS: nib non-PHARMAC webinar and more

nib will be hosting a webinar on May 20, 2020, from 11:30 am – 12:15 pm. During the session, nib NZ CEO Rob Hennin, RMA Financial’s Shaun Vining, and nib Customer Care team leader Hannah Larking will be sharing their experiences on non-PHARMAC drugs and the importance of including them in medical policies.

"Join our webinar where we’ll be focusing on why cover for treatment with non-PHARMAC drugs is so important for your clients. We’ll be bringing you the insights of adviser, Shaun Vining, and nib Customer Care Team Leader, Hannah Larking. There will be opportunity to discuss why it’s so important your clients have health insurance with non-PHARMAC cover." Click here to register

in other news:

OUT NOW: ASSET May issue

Australia: Signature scandal puts more pressure on AMP's battle-weary management

Wealthpoint: Wealthpoint advisers ‘cautiously optimistic’

Finzo: Finzo develops 360 integrated solution

Brokers with no BCP urged to make one, ASAP

Medical / health insurance pricing comparison database updated

Medical /Health Insurance pricing comparison database V79 has now been issued to subscribers. This version includes the following changes:

  • Update Southern Cross rates effective 1/3/20
  • Update nib rates effective 1/4/20
  • Update Partners Life rates (including policy fee) effective 5/4/20

nib: half year results

nib holdings limited has announced its FY20 Half Year Results. In Australia claims provisions reduced net profit sharply. The analyst briefing focused on cost control measures and highlighted timing and provisioning. In New Zealand member growth helped the business to profit growth. Click here to read full press release: Download Media Release_Member growth delivers healthy result for nib New Zealand_240220

HFANZ: Older New Zealanders retaining health insurance to combat DHB uncertainty

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.


Day of week of procedure and 30 day mortality for elective surgery: retrospective analysis of hospital episode statistics

The objective of this study was to assess the association between mortality and the day of elective surgical procedure. The conclusion suggests a higher risk of death for patients who have elective surgical procedures carried out later in the working week and at the weekend, than those who have it done earlier in the week. 

American medical services prices vs global prices

The International Federation of Health Plans published their latest report on the 2017 prices of international medical services. The report illustrated that both patients and insurance companies in the US paid higher prices in comparison to other countries sampled in the report. The 2018 study by Harvard on the things differentiate health systems found that the US is distinct in a number of ways.

Click here to read more

Ny times pic 1

The US is a very high-cost economy and there are dangers of comparing goods that cannot be traded across borders. A good example to remember is that your don't mind paying perhaps fifty times as much as someone in rural China for a haircut, because everything here is pricier. But service costs are becoming increasingly comparable and can be subject to substitution: some people can get their hip replacements done in Thailand, for example.