Give Yourself the Gift of Health

Give Yourself the Gift of Health

We know that this time of year can be a little overwhelming. Not only are you trying to wrap this year up on a high note, but you're also setting your goals and intentions for next year.

Fortunately, this article is designed to help you do that.

With just under two weeks left until Christmas, finding something for everyone on your list can be more stressful than watching the All Blacks play a test match against France.

We make shopping lists, brainstorm the perfect gifts, and focus on "giving".

We even feel the stress during the holidays of navigating our friends' and families' expectations for where we should be "giving" our time during the holiday season.

This party, that party, this food drive, that charity auction, etc. All good things.

In the flurry of all the stress to "give", we tend to forget giving ourselves the gift of health and well-being we each deserve, however.

Nothing is more important than the health of you and your family. Health insurance plays a very important role in protecting you from financial hardship in the event of illness. And yet many of us often ignore or delay the decision to buy health cover.

A loss of health can mean a loss of earnings if you are not able to work for a period of time, and it can also mean medical bills that are extremely expensive.

By choosing health insurance you and your family can avoid some of those costs and get on with enjoying life to the full, with the security of knowing that you have protection and options should you need them.

While New Zealand has an established public health system, there are limitations to what it can provide.

For emergency treatment, the public system will provide you with immediate care. But for other health problems, even serious ones like heart surgery, you may have to be continuously assessed to remain on the waiting list. It may take months, or even years, to be treated. The effects waiting can have on you and your family can range from being inconvenient to devastating.

According to a report published by Ministry of Health NZ, an average of 4726 people per month have been waiting for longer than six months for their first specialist assessment through the public health system. And, more than 2896 people did not receive treatment within six months, despite being given a commitment to treatment.

And that's what makes health insurance such an important part of your life. Private health insurance provides for those who don't qualify for immediate treatment in the public system.

It means you can choose to have treatment and access to private healthcare when you need it. You don't need to compromise your quality of life while you wait for treatment. You also won't have to increase debts or reduce savings to pay for private treatment.

As a risk insurance specialist and financial adviser, I see the lack of health insurance cover in young Kiwis. Typical costs of procedures are a surprise for most of them and so are the most expensive claims paid out by some well-known insurers in NZ.

Between July 1 and October 31, listed below are some of the most expensive claims paid out for the respective procedures by two well-known insurers in NZ:

Spinal fusion: ranged between $91k-$170k

Small bowel resection: $97k

Craniotomy: $93k

Tumour removal: $59k

On the other end of the spectrum, you might be wondering what about premiums?

You probably have heard the commercials on the radio, "A 30-year-old, non-smoker in excellent health, can get a health insurance for as little as $20 a fortnight."

That's true. Of course, rates will vary depending on the amount of coverage and each person's specific health history. Why not let your $20 go further this year?

We all like to think we will be around forever. If not forever, at least long enough to not have to think about a premature exit. That's great, an optimistic attitude will serve you well throughout other areas of your life. However, it's in everyone's best interest to expect the best and plan for the worst.

Let your secret Santa go further this year and provide more than just another set of steak knives.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!

  • Trudi Vossen is a Risk Insurance Specialist and Authorised Financial Adviser at Stewart Group, a Hawke's Bay-based, family owned and operated independent financial planning and advisory firm. Making the right choice on which health insurance policy is not always easy. The aim is to find a good balance between cover and cost. Before selecting a health insurance, you should read the contract carefully and understand all the terms and conditions that are in it. If you are unsure about any of them, ask your insurance representative for clarification or call us at 0800 878 961 to schedule a free second-opinion consultation.

  • The information provided, or any opinions expressed in this article, are of a general nature only and should not be construed or relied on a recommendation to a financial product or class of financial product. You should seek financial advice specific to your circumstances from an Authorised Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 878 961 or emailing