Why not all Medical Insurance is equal

Sep 15, 2014

We’ve been touched by several articles in the media about New Zealanders who are fundraising for their lives – literally. Many critically ill patients are not able to access the drugs they need to give them the best chance of survival, which is forcing them to fund the cost themselves. Having medical insurance can help protect you from the stress of funding private care, however having the right policy is vital.

One story in particular which featured in the NZ Herald recently, really touched us. It was about 24 year old Sally Xu who is battling against an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and is trying to raise $150,000 for a new cancer drug. Unfortunately PHARMAC (the NZ agency that decides which medicines are subsidised) does not fund this particular drug here in New Zealand. So Sally’s last chance for survival is to fund the cost of the drug herself.

While this is a heart-breaking situation for Sally and her family, it’s also amazing that there is still hope at all. As modern medicine continues to advance at a rapid rate, more illnesses will become treatable by medication in future, you just need to be sure that you can access it when you need it. In reality the Government only has a limited amount of funds available for drug subsidies - they simply can’t afford to
fund each new drug which comes along.

While we can’t yet cure cancer before it takes hold, we can help to ensure that we are able to access the treatments we need. One way we can do this, is by having good medical insurance cover.

There are several medical insurance policies available on the market which include cover for non-PHARMAC drugs, however you need to be aware that when it comes to medical cover - not all insurers are created equal. In fact, New Zealand’s “largest” medical insurance provider only allows for up to $10,000 towards non-PHARMAC cancer drugs. In a case like Sally’s, that amount isn’t going to go very far.

Please don’t let this be your story. If you’re unsure of whether your medical insurance covers you for non-PHARMAC drugs (or to what amount) then please ask us and we’ll find out for you. Also if you don’t have medical insurance and would like to see how inexpensive it can be, get in touch!

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We are so moved by Sally’s story that we’ve given a little to help her to continue her fight. If you’d like to help Sally, please go www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/savesally

At Foresight Financial Planning we offer free advice and consultations. To get in touch with us, please call (06) 751 4510 or email [email protected]

A free disclosure statement is available on request.

Foresight Financial Planning received Highly Commended in the New Business Excellence category in the Taranaki Business Awards 2013.