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. 

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. 

Connection between gut bacteria autism strengthened

There is some new evidence that implies that autism is caused by a lack of gut bacteria. two recent studies, the first conducted using humans and one on laboratory rodents. The study using humans was prompted by an earlier study that found some children with autism were missing hundreds of the thousand-plus bacterial species that can be found in a non-autistic person. For the second study, researchers collected bacteria from the faeces of both autistic and non-autistic people and transplanted these into mice. They then interbred the mice and studied the offspring. Most of the young mice with the gut bacteria from autistic human participants showed features of autism. Click here to read more