Life is a journey. Chose the right path.

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Life is a journey, chose the right path.

What to have for breakfast, what route to take to work, to exercise or not, go to the pub for that beer…… New Zealanders are faced with making a choice every minute of every day on this journey we call life. Some choices are more important than others, and some can even have life threatening consequences. A recent survey of 1000 people done by the Salvation Army showed some very surprising and alarming results when it comes to the choices people are making, and how those choices are impacting their lives and their health (https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/winterappeal/gift-warmth). Take for example the 45% of people surveyed who went without heating last year, 10% of whom would use their ovens as a heat source, or the 37% of people who skipped a meal because they couldn’t afford it. Given our ageing population, rental and house prices, and “lack of affordability’ the choices we make about our money and our well being are having the biggest effect they have ever had. People are having to choose between food, comfort, lifestyle, socialising, and their health or medicines. So how do we know how to prioritise these options, find balance, or even make sure the decisions we are making are right?

As of 2017, 1.36 million New Zealanders had made the decision to transfer some level of medical risk to insurance companies in the form of health insurance, collectively they paid $1.357 billion and received $1.136 billion back in paid claims (www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/89349825/record-1136-billion-paid-in-health-insurance-claims). These figures show that EVEN in our world of increasing population, budget pressures and rising costs New Zealanders are moving away from the public health system and seeking that peace of mind knowing not only that if something did happen they would be ok, but also having the choice of elective surgeries and diagnostic testing which is proven to increase chances of survival. This change in attitude is a massively positive step to improving the health and care of everyday New Zealanders.

But health insurance is only for old people who need hip replacements isn’t it? Health insurance is too expensive and unaffordable as you get old, isn’t it? Wrong. Here’s how I can help you and your family, and it starts with these 5 fundamentals every New Zealander needs to consider when taking out health insurance.

  1. Free Professional Advice- Having a professional such as me advise you on the different products and how they work is essential. Technology and methods are forever changing so make sure you have the best products and know what you are covered for. I can also keep premiums affordable and being part of Team Hammock means you will have someone make sure you get your money at claim time which is where the rubber hits the road. There are a lot of ‘billy basic’ products that are very easy to sign up to online or are very cheap, these generally are not the best products and your chance of getting money at claim time is minimised.
  2. Peace of mind- Canstar released findings that 62% of New Zealanders with health insurance did it for the peace of mind that they and/or their kids are going to be ok if something unfortunate was to happen or some unexpected financial pressure was a result of a medical event (stuff.co.nz/business/money/90754446/Crunch-time-for-baby-boomers-as-health-insurance-premiums-sky-rocket). Children, teeth, and corrective glasses are examples of factors New Zealanders worry about and protect themselves from with Health Insurance.
  3. Claim ability- As the figures above suggest, a high percentage of premiums paid are given back as claims. The average New Zealander will claim on the health insurance 4 times, that’s a 400% claim rate. Make sure you have the right product and someone who will go to battle for you to get your claim paid.
  4. Specialists, tests, and elective surgery- Health Insurance can help pay for those expensive specialist appointments, diagnostic testing, and major medical events. This can literally save your life. A 2016 study by TNS researched found that 300,000 New Zealanders were waiting for surgery, and many wait times were over a year. These wait periods are having significantly negative impacts on people’s quality of life. These wait lists are predicted to increase considerably over the next ten years (https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/606d2f_bd6040178cdb4234b99b1a25d7439c30.pdf).
  5. Non PHARMAC- Having the freedom to choose your treatment can be lifesaving and give you added years of quality life. Non PHARMAC or “wonder drugs” are procedures and drugs that are not funded by the public system and can be very expensive. Good policies will see $300,000-$500,000 of cover available a year for this, poor policies may only have $10,000. Make sure you speak to me about options on this type of cover as one day you may rely on it.

Health Insurance isn’t just for the old, it isn’t something you won’t need or use, and it can be affordable. There are even companies now who will incentivise you for leading a healthy life through exercise and diet, or semi-regular doctor check-ups which they analyse on devices such as fit bits and apps. This helps people not only actively improve their health but save money on their premiums as well.

Life is full of choices, life is a journey, make sure you make the right choices when it comes to your health and protecting yourself against unexpected setbacks. Let me ENJOY the journey with you and join Team Hammock now.

Matt Golding

Financial Adviser, Team Hammock.

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