Should I move health insurance provider?

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The public health system in New Zealand provides a good level of care for urgent medical issues. Still, due to our growing and ageing population, waitlists are increasing, resulting in delays for much-needed medical care.

Having health insurance means you can opt for private health care for non-urgent issues – allowing you to avoid long waitlists for surgery.

Health insurance has other benefits too; some policies offer specialist and testing cover and cover for non-Pharmac prescription drugs. When policies are correctly structured, premiums are generally affordable. It is an insurance type we recommend to most of our clients.

I already have health insurance – can I get a better deal?

When we encounter new clients with existing health insurance cover, 99% of the time, we don’t move it away from the current provider. Why?

Long-standing health insurance covers any medical conditions that have developed during the lifetime of the policy. Southern Cross policies are an excellent example of this as parents often add their children to their policy. The children eventually became adults who continued with the same cover on separate policies, with any medical issues covered by the policy.

A  new  policy – which may cost less – may exclude these pre-existing medical conditions, leaving you exposed.

As a general rule,  if you’ve already got health insurance, leave it exactly as is. Always consult with a reputable adviser before making any changes to your insurance.

Price isn’t everything.

We often come across health insurance policies that have been moved from one insurer to another, resulting in a list of exclusions on the new policy that were previously covered. To say this makes us angry is an understatement!

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon due to some people chasing cheaper premiums. There are also a small number of insurance advisers attempting to sell the latest and greatest health insurance products while not properly informing unsuspecting Kiwis of the potential risks of moving insurers.

Don’t let lower premium prices tempt you. If you have any medical conditions at all, they may not be covered under a new policy.

However, there are a few specific policies available that automatically cover many existing health conditions after three years. Both Nib and Southern Cross offer some excellent options in this space. If you have previously avoided health insurance “because they won’t cover my _______________”, then it’s worth having a chat to a reputable insurance adviser about your options.

Always provide your medical notes.

If you are confident that changing insurers is in your best interests, be sure your medical file accompanies your fully completed application form as it is near impossible to remember every medical event that has occurred.

Your medical file is your safety net from unintentional non-disclosure and future claim issues. Unlike life insurers, health insurers do not request medical notes, so it is up to you to do the legwork.

If you want to reduce the cost of your existing policy, you can always increase the surgical excess on your policy – this should always be your first port of call before looking to move to another insurer.

Please get in touch if you require any policy or claim advice concerning your existing health insurance. We are happy to be appointed as the servicing adviser at no expense to you or the policy owner.

While we’re home loan and insurance experts, our blog posts are for general information purposes only and are not intended as financial advice. If at any stage you need personalised advice, get in touch on 0800 346 765, or email


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