No one likes to wait; yet public hospital waiting lists continue to grow longer. According to the latest research conducted by the Health Funds Association of NZ research (HFANZ), more than 280,000 New Zealanders currently needed elective surgery and of those, 170,000 had not even been placed on a waiting list.
While the numbers are startling, it’s the impact that longer waiting times have on the lives of those who need surgery, which we should consider. Although many of these individuals have injuries or illnesses which are not immediately life threatening, they are likely to be suffering from ongoing pain and discomfort. Their quality of life is being compromised and in some cases they are unable to work or carry on living their usual lifestyle.
It is highly likely that at some stage in our lives, most of us will need elective surgery. So how would you manage if you were stuck on a hospital waiting list, and forced to take time off work for many months? Could you afford to wait?
Unfortunately a client of ours found himself in this very situation. Tony is a builder, with a wife and 2 kids. He started suffering from shoulder pain and was advised he needed Rotator Cuff surgery. Due to this not being ACC related he was placed on the Public waiting list and informed it could take over a year. As a result Tony had to pretty much give up work, playing soccer and ‘clowning’ around with the kids - or pay the cost for private treatment which was $13,500.
Had Tony had medical insurance he would have had surgery within a few weeks of the diagnosis and after recovery would have been back to work and enjoying the lifestyle that he loves. Even if his injury was accidental but declined by ACC, his medical insurance would have stepped in. Tony said that the reason they didn’t have medical insurance was simply because they thought it would be too expensive. However medical insurance is more affordable than you think. A couple in their early 40’s can get private medical cover for themselves and their two children for less than $100 per month (with a $1,000 excess). That’s $3.30 per day, which is less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
So before you think that medical insurance is too expensive, take a minute to think about what your quality of life could be like without it. Come and have a free, no obligation discussion (and cup of coffee!) with us at Foresight Financial Planning. We can work with you to find some affordable options to protect the health of your entire family.
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Foresight Financial Planning received HighlyCommended in the New Business Excellence category in the Taranaki Business Awards 2013.