WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING PRIVATE MEDICAL COVER?

 

With so many insurance companies and options to choose from for your medical now days it can be a minefield just deciding what’s right for you. Do I take out an excess or not? do I get GP care? should I add specialists and tests? That’s where we come in. Our job is to know the differences between the various companies and options available to you, and avoid the many pitfalls. There are however a few key things to look for in a great medical policy. 

Guaranteed wording. Why is this important? If the insurance company can shift the goal posts, how can you be sure that what you are covered for now will still be covered ten or twenty years down the track. As we get older and health problems arise we may not have the ability to shift our cover elsewhere, so choose carefully and preferably when you are fit, young and healthy.

Non-Pharmac drug cover. These are the high-end drugs that are Med Safe approved that the government do not subsidise, due to their cost, so user pays. A lot of the drugs that sit in this category are high end cancer drugs that come at huge expense, often hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is where your policy can really add value. You could be quite likely to break the bank affording great quality pharmaceutical care than covering an elective surgery. With advances in medical science I believe this divide is only going to get bigger and become an increasingly important feature of good quality medical cover.  

No affiliated/preferred providers. This is where the insurance company provides you with a list of specialists in various areas of expertise. If the specialist you wish to receive care from is not on that list then you must pay or go to someone on their list. One of the main reasons for you to have private medical, is to give you the freedom of choice? Provided the person is appropriately qualified it should not be the insurers job to tell you who you can see. 

Big ticket items vs Day to day. Cover the big-ticket items and worry less about your day to day expenses. Policies that cover the small things like GP care are all well and good but you are paying for the privilege. I would much rather see people well covered for the big expenses like non-pharmac drug cover than a $50 GP visit. It is far easier to budget for those smaller expenses but coming up with tens of thousands for surgeries or top quality drugs is much harder or impossible for most. And this brings me to my last point….

An ability to counter cost escalation. We all know that as we get older our insurances increase in cost. There should be an ability to alleviate some of these cost escalations to keep the policies affordable and avoid having to cancel them all together just when you are likely to need them the most. A good insurer should allow you to take on larger excess options or reduced cover alternatives without further medical underwriting. This is better than no cover at all. 

When was the last time your insurances had a WOF check? Don’t leave it too late only to find out at claim time that your cover isn’t everything you thought it was. Give us a call to learn more and get free unbiased advice.

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Lending, Insurance and policy criteria and terms and conditions apply. Content on this website is general in nature and is not a recommendation, opinion or guidance to any individuals in relation to acquiring or disposing of a financial product. Readers should not rely on this content and should always seek specific financial advice appropriate to their own individual circumstances.

Joanne Walker

Registered Financial  Adviser

Partner

Albany Office, Auckland

021 660 307

jo@trebla.nz

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