With GP visits free to children under 13, getting medical cover for your healthy, active children may seem unnecessary.
There are a number of reasons we think it is worth considering.
In our previous blog on health insurance (you can read it here) we described health insurance as doing something your future self will thank you for. The same concept stands for insuring your children – you are setting them up for later in life, in a time when our public health system may look very different to what it does today.
Protection against pre-existing conditions
One of the problems adults find when they go to get health insurance is the limits placed on them by pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a health problem that exists before you apply for a policy – insurance companies are businesses and as such they are concerned about their bottom line. This means if you have a pre-existing condition they are likely to exclude cover for that condition, charge a higher premium or impose a waiting period before that condition is covered.
If you insure your children while they are young, fit and healthy, and they keep the policy when they reach 18 or 21 (depending on the insurer), they will not have any pre-existing conditions as the cover is already in place. This includes big stuff such as cancer or heart problems, but also smaller things such as allergies or asthma.
Pre-existing vs Congenital: An important distinction to be aware of
It is important to understand the distinction between pre-existing conditions and congenital conditions as most insurance policies do not cover congenital conditions.
A congenital condition is something that you are born with, whereas a pre-existing condition is something that you have developed since birth. For example, a tongue-tie correction needed on a baby will generally not be covered, as that is something they were born with. A child that needs grommets inserted (one of the most common procedures for children, which helps prevent persistent ear infections but often has long waiting lists) can be covered.
Access to healthcare, no matter how public funding changes
With New Zealand’s aging demographics the way we are able to access public healthcare may well change in the future. The government currently spends 20% of its budget on healthcare and we have 10 workers (i.e. paying tax to fund the government budget) for every old age dependent, however in the next 20 years that number is going to shift to four workers for every old age dependent. That future healthcare burden raises some questions around the sustainability of our public system.
While we don’t know exactly what the future looks like, it is likely that private medical insurance will play more of a role in getting the healthcare you need when you need it.
Want to talk to someone about insurance for your family?
If you need some help weighing up the pros and cons of having medical insurance for your children, get in touch with one of our brokers today. They can talk you through some of the ins and outs of the policies available and help you find one that best suits your family’s needs.
Here are a few reviews from some of our existing clients around New Zealand