Government talks about joining holistic health app trend

The New Zealand Government may be the latest entrant in the trend of holistic health apps which digitise healthcare in the age of Covid-19, Marc Daalder reports here. Although one aspect of the story is yet to be proven - the official COVID-19 contract tracing app does not have holistic health care features.

Should they decide to do so careful consideration of the feature set is critical. This is a difficult game to play, requiring a delicate balance on several dimensions. Motivation can be seen as nagging. Measurement could be seen as prying. Rewards can, from another point of view, be seen as penalties. Insurers at least can point to the freedom they allow clients: pick up the app if you like, if you prefer not, no problem. That's why government should avoid copying Vitality, Fitbit, and Sharecare. They should focus on doing the things that the market is not, such as online delivery of primary care. Digital delivery of some healthcare functions looks like an obvious way to save time, money, and deliver care to more people. It is certain to come. I've have online consultations myself in Northern Ireland for a sore throat. It saved loads of time and reduces exposure of other people to infection. More of this can happen to spread precious public health dollars further. 


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

COVID-19 and the implications for health and longevity

It has long been reported that New Zealanders have high life expectancy. We know the leading causes of health loss, but we do not know how severely COVID-19 will affect the the health of New Zealanders.

A good view of mortality data (note: written about 36 hours ago, as things are changing fast) is available in this Brookings Institute data. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/23/a-mortality-perspective-on-covid-19-time-location-and-age/ 

Age and underlying health conditions are major factors in the case fatality rate, which also makes the underlying health of New Zealanders a subject of great interest right now.

Below are images from the Health and Independence 2017 report that illustrates causes of health loss and the number of years New Zealanders are living in poor health. 

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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. 


Bowel cancer is killing 1,200 Kiwis a year

Accuro are offering free bowel screening kits to members to assist in early detection of the disease, with their acting CEO Gavin Rutherford saying "The problem is that many insurers do not engage with their members until after they have been diagnosed,"

Currently NZ's National Bowel Screening Programme aim to invite 700,00 people for free bowel screening by June 2021, but it is limited to those aged 60 - 74.

Click here to read more. 


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

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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.