NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 14, 2007

New Zealanders are switching from public sector insurance to private in record numbers, putting a value on getting the hospital care they need when they want it, says TVNZ.


  • Latest data from the Health Funds Association shows the number of people covered by health insurance increased by 15,500 last year.
  • Overall, almost 1.4 million people are now covered in New Zealand.

The government is attributing the massive increase to surgery cuts; the party's health spokesman Tony Ryall believes people are responding to the dumping of thousands of patients from non-urgent surgery waiting lists.

But Health Funds Association Director Claire Austin thinks there is an economic rationale behind the decision to switch from the public to the private sector.

Fewer New Zealanders are prepared to queue up for public health treatment, says Austin.  People want to access when they need it, and they are beginning to see health insurance in the same way as they do insurance for their home or their car.

Source: Editorial, "Health insurance hits record," TVNZ, February 11, 2007.


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