Record health insurance claims payout

Health insurance paid out a record $321 million in claims for the September 2017 quarter, mainly due to an increase in lives covered and procedures funded, according to the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).
Announcing its latest statistics, HFANZ Chief Executive Roger Styles says claims paid in the September quarter were up 7.3 percent on the same period in 2016, and it was the first time quarterly claims had exceeded $300 million.
Total claims paid for the 12 months ending September 30, 2017 were $1.174 billion, up 6.7 percent – or $74 million – on the September 2016 year.
A significant chunk of those claims funded healthcare for the over-60 age group. These jumped 7.7 percent to $532 million over the year to the end of September, the first time they had topped the half billion dollar mark.
“Health insurance is funding significant volumes of healthcare for older New Zealanders, particularly for elective surgery, with all indications pointing to continued increases in coming years,” says Mr
Styles. “The growing numbers of over-60s retaining their health insurance, combined with increased volumes of treatments funded, mean health insurance will be funding well in excess of $2 billion in healthcare costs
for the over-60s over the next four years.
“As the ageing population swells the ranks of the over-60s – together with their healthcare costs – health insurance is playing an increasingly important role in complementing public sector funding so that more New Zealanders are able to access healthcare when they need it.”
The number of New Zealanders with health insurance increased for the tenth quarter in a row in September, up 5000 to 1.374 million.
Over the year to the end of September, lives covered increased by 18,900, 5400 of whom were aged over 60. This means more than a quarter of a million New Zealanders aged over 60 have health insurance.
Mr Styles says 2017 so far had seen some of the strongest annual growth in coverage since 2001. Much of this appeared to have come from an increase in the numbers of people with employer-subsidised health insurance as part of an increased focus on wellness in the workplace, he says.