What is private health insurance?
Private health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that individuals or families can purchase to help cover the costs of medical expenses and services that may not be fully covered by the national health system or, in the event of an accident, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
Private health insurance policies vary widely, but they often cover a range of healthcare services, including hospital stays, surgeries, prescription medications and, sometimes, preventive care. The specific coverage and costs involved depend on the policy and the insurance provider.
What are the benefits of private health insurance?
One of the main reasons for getting health insurance is that it gives you the option to access private medical care and treatment. The wait to get non-emergency public health treatment can, at times, be a long wait.
What does private health insurance cover when having a baby?
Most comprehensive private health insurance policies do come with a predefined obstetrics limit that kicks in after 12 months of holding the policy. However, cover limits are not high, for example:
- AA Health Insurance’s Private Hospital and Specialist Cover pays a maximum of $2000 per pregnancy
- Southern Cross’s UltraCare policy offers $1000 per claims year
- Unimed’s comprehensive Hospital Select policy offers $1000 per claims year
And the payments are only for treatment by a registered medical practitioner for obstetric conditions.
Do I need to go private?
In New Zealand, most pregnant women are eligible for free and subsidised maternity-related services if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services in their own right
- Are claiming refugee or or protection status
- Are a victim of human trafficking
- Hold an Interim Visa and were eligible for publicly funded health care immediately before they were issued an Interim Visa
- Are a citizen of the United Kingdom — although the range of health services NZ offers is limited
If you do not fit into any of these categories, you may not be eligible for free or subsidised pregnancy care. In which case the cost of private pregnancy/birth care will be high, much higher than obstetrics cover of just $1000-$2000.
What maternity services are funded?
Most maternity care is free in NZ for women who meet the criteria above. Eligible pregnant women can receive the following funded maternity-related services:
- Access to a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) who takes primary responsibility for providing you with maternity care during your pregnancy, birth and four to six weeks postnatally
- Anesthetic or epidural
- Delivery and hospital stay
- Laboratory testing
- Most other pregnancy and birth related medical costs
Health insurance providers
Really, health insurance in New Zealand isn’t designed to cover the costs of care associated with pregnancy. However, health insurance has the potential to save your life, should you need expensive life-saving treatment, and can remove the financial sting of unexpected and expensive qualifying procedures – plus it can help you avoid having to wait on public waiting lists for appointments and treatments.
If you’re interested in the best health care policies, you can compare what other Kiwis think about their health insurance providers with Canstar, just click on the button below.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a Search Engine Optimiser, before joining the Canstar team.
Enjoy reading this article?
You can like us on Facebook and get social, or sign up to receive more news like this straight to your inbox.