Sunday, April 28, 2013

Taking medical 'rationing' off the table with health insurance.

Article courtesy of Good Returns.

Two friends have had cancer recently. I use the term “had” in the most optimistic sense. Because although they are both cancer-free, we simply don’t know how long that will last.
For one of my friends their case was similar to a case widely reported in the news media – the doctor has been told off by the Medical Council for not sending his patient for further tests sooner. The client, who fortunately remains alive, has diminished chances of recovering from their cancer because of the delayed detection.
Why does this happen?
Obviously, for the case reported in the media the patient felt strongly enough about it to make a complaint. They must have wondered why their care was not better. 
Is it malpractice?
We simply cannot know enough from the reports to tell, but it does seem like better care should have been taken, it also seems like the punishment handed out was very minor.
Is it just the odds?
Perhaps this is a fine question of judgement, a genuine edge case where the decision could have gone either way.
Is it a reasoned response to the risk of false positives?
As not everyone can be tested every year for every possible disorder some choices have to be made. In some cases there is the risk of false positives to consider, and some tests – like biopsies – carry health risks of their own.
Is it rationing?
That’s the fear: rationing. It’s hard enough coping with the idea of ill health, the possibility of a potentially fatal illness, without having to second guess your doctor – are they not sending me for that test because I don’t need it, or because of the cost to the state sector.
In both of my friend’s cases the immediate treatment once diagnosed was very good, it was just the question of getting a diagnosis.
Of course, the easiest way to take the risk of rationing off the table is to insure it. I’d want to insure it all and have every form of medical cover I can possibly buy – including cover for treatment overseas – but if you are working with a client at the other end of the spectrum, I’d at least get specialists and tests cover." 

In general, the public system does a fantastic job with what it has (as the article admits, the treatment itself is top drawer), but sometimes it just isn't enough and cases such as those described here will slip through the cracks. In my own case, I have seen the benefits of having health insurance when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease (full story here) and in my case, having tests and specialist cover as well as basic hospitalisation cover gave me a financial safety blanket and protected me from over $20,000 worth of costs, as well as securing me the best and most prompt treatment available from the private system.
Having the full range of health insurance options is a somewhat costly proposition and we do realise this (although it is no doubt a good thing to cover all your bases in terms of your health). However, there are cost effective and assuredly worthwhile options such as the one I have selected for myself; a combination of basic hospitalisation, surgical cover as well as tests and specialists. The premium is definitely affordable, and it has already, at the age of 27, paid off for me many times over. 
Overall, its always a good idea to take the possibility of delayed diagnosis and rationing off the table as well as protecting from the cost of unforeseen health issues. Don't hesitate to get in contact and let us take the legwork out of securing the health insurance that's right for you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What is Mortgage Instalment Insurance?

Most people are aware of the main types of insurance related to risk (life insurance, health insurance, income protection), but there are equally valuable but lesser known types of insurance which can be of great use in protecting your assets for a cheap price. In this case, mortgage instalment insurance can specifically cover mortgage repayments, safeguarding your home and your lifestyle in the face of unforeseen events.

- Mortgage Instalment Insurance pays your monthly mortgage repayments in the event that you become disabled due to illness or injury. Mortgage Insurance gives you four different payment period options each with different premium costs. The options are to have the insurance pay your mortgage repayments for a period of 2 years, 5 years, until the age of 65 or until the age of 70. 2 years will result in the cheapest monthly premiums, 5 years will be more expensive, and payments until the age of 65 or 70 will be the most expensive options.

- There is also an option to choose Redundancy Cover, which also covers your payments in the event that you are made redundant from your job. Redundancy cover will meet your mortgage payments for a period of six months to allow you adequate time to transition to new employment.

- Mortgage Instalment Insurance will pay 110% of your monthly mortgage repayment, calculated at the time of taking out your insurance policy. This is designed to cover any interest rate rises, as well as additional expenses such as land rates.

- If your personal circumstances or your repayment amount changes, you can contact us or your insurance provider to re-assess your cover.

- Mortgage Instalment Insurance is a more specified form of insurance that only covers mortgage repayments in the event of illness, injury or redundancy. Because of this, it is a considerably cheaper option than taking out more general lump sum insurance cover. Your home is the most important asset you have, and mortgage instalment insurance offers a simple and cost effective way to ensure your home will not slip from your hands in the event of unforeseen circumstances. We think it is well worth considering.

If you are interested in securing Mortgage Instalment Insurance or you have any further questions on if this type of cover is right for you, don't hesitate to get in contact with us anytime and secure your mortgage at the lowest possible price.

Your house is simply too valuable to lose.

Tell us your personal insurance story.

If you or one you love has been through a trying time where having health insurance, life insurance or income protection has helped you out, please tell us your story! You could be featured in a blog post or on our official website. We always love to hear from you, so drop us a line anytime!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How medical insurance spared me from disaster.

This is a story from my own life, about how having medical insurance saved my financial situation during my time of need. I must admit that before this came up, I balked a little at having to pay monthly premiums for something that I at the time was apparently getting no benefit from. Now I know better, and I hope my story can help convince you to get protected too to spare you from the financial hardship that almost befell me.

I am a 27 year old male, living on the North Shore of Auckland. During my years at university, studying for my Honours degree in 2009, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Before this, the only real experience I had with ill health was a moderately severe case asthma during my formative years, and so the shock of dealing with a severe incurable auto immune disorder all of a sudden was intensely disheartening and almost impossible for my young self to have predicted. Within the span of two months, I lost 20 kg due to malabsorption, had severe iron deficiency due to blood loss and I spiralled down to around 55kg at my worst (I am 6 foot 1, so this was scarily thin). I was forced to put my degree on hold whilst I underwent several tests, procedures and eventually surgeries.

Only working a part time job while I studied, through which I was attempting to save to repay my student loan, if I had been forced to pay for my procedures, tests and specialist visits myself, I would have found myself broke very quickly and unable to afford the treatment. In total, in the four years since I have been diagnosed, the medical insurance my mother insisted on me having (Yes, Mums always do know best) has covered the medical bills, MRi costs and surgical procedures, paying out more than $20,000 to help maintain my treatment. Just think about taking that on yourself, and the meagre monthly premiums I complained about will immediately pale into insignificance.

Since then I have regained the weight, remedied the iron deficiency and even though symptoms remain which continually make life challenging, I am considerably better than my darkest days. I don't think this would have been possible without the insurance cover which meant I could get every treatment and exhaust every avenue my specialist reccomended. Thanks to my health improvement, I got my degree and was able to use my savings to repay my student loan, starting off my post university life debt free - a tremendous blessing and relief in today's environment. Before all this happened, I had the regrettable mindset I see a lot. The mindset that I'm healthy and fine and nothing serious medically was on my horizon. Looking back now, my disease was extremely rapid in its onset and I literally went from a normal life to bed ridden, energy sapped, underweight and unable to go about my life within weeks.

When I think about where I might have been without it, I'm passionate about making sure that people know what sort of risk they could be taking by not being covered. I am a single male with no dependants or family, but having one, or people who depend on you financially makes this even more necessary. I hope you don't take the gamble, it's definitely not worth it.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

What is Permanent Disability Insurance?

In general, Permanent Disability Cover is a type of insurance that provides a single lump sum payment in the event that a person becomes permanently disabled, giving them the financial stability to manage their life through troubled times.

The next question I find that is asked the most, is what consitutes 'permanent disability'? Across the different insurers fortunately this definition remains the same. A permanent disability is an illness or disability that is severe enough that it results in you being unable to work for three consecutive months. Also, following that period, the incapacitation must be severe enough that it renders it unlikely for you to ever work again, although the precision of this aspect differs slightly between insurance companies.

Permanent Disability cover is different to life cover but it can interact with it in several ways. If you select standalone permanent disability, this interaction will not come into play. Your Permanent Disability cover will be stand alone, and should you claim on it there will be no impact on any life cover you may or may not possess. However, some companies offer an accelerated permanent disability cover. This option involves cheaper cost and premiums. In this option, if you are permanently disabled and receive the disability lump sum payment, the amount of your Life cover will reduce by the amount paid out in the permanent disability claim.

There are usually a limit of eligible entry ages that differ for Accelerated cover and Stand Alone cover. For Accelerated the entry ages range between 16 and 60, whilst for Stand Alone it ranges between 16 and 55.

Lastly, there are two different types of Permanent Disability Cover; 'own occupation' and 'any occupation'. If you have 'own occupation', you will be paid your insurance claim if you are fulfil the above criteria and are unable to return to the specific last job you held. If you have 'any occupation', you will be paid your insurance claim if you fulfil the above criteria and are unable to return to any occupation at all. The determination of which category your insurance will fall under will be determined by the insurer based on your specific employment conditions.

If you have any further questions or wish to discuss securing the best possible cover for you: