What is Health Insurance?
New Zealand health insurance is very similar to other health insurance policies around the world. It is a contractual agreement between an insurer and the insured (the person buying the policy).
You, as the policyholder, pay your premiums and in exchange, the health insurance company promises to pay for any medical costs when you become ill. Some New Zealand health insurance providers include disability coverage or long-term nursing care as options to their policies.
A medical insurance policy is generally renewable annually or monthly. The type and amount of healthcare costs that will be covered by the health plan are specified in advance.
How Does Health Insurance Work?
Health insurance in NZ usually works in the way of a refund. The policyholder is responsible to cover many of the upfront expenses, and the insurance company will issue a refund after the purchase of the medical care or medicine. There is often a shortfall between the amount of the refund and the actual cost of the service. While this sum may be small for some services, such as a visit to a general practitioner, the shortfall may be incredibly large for major surgery. As some health services are only available in public hospitals, New Zealand health insurance is of no benefit in particular circumstances. Many cancer treatments, intensive care, major trauma and accident treatments are examples of services not provided by the private sector.