Southern Cross has launched ‘on the spot’ electronic claiming for GP consultations and minor surgery.
Known as ‘Southern Cross Health Society Easy-claim’, the service enables Southern Cross health insurance members to submit qualifying claims for healthcare services at the counter or reception desk, with the claim payment going directly to the general practice.
The service is a first for New Zealand health insurers, and is already established in over 150 pharmacies for prescription claims. Electronic claiming for GP services is currently being piloted at Southern Cross Primary Care (SCPC) partner practices.
Silverdale Medical Centre and Queenstown Medical Centre are the first in the SCPC network to roll out the service to patients, with two other practices, Taradale Medical Centre (Hawke’s Bay) and Carefirst (New Plymouth), expected to follow in the coming months.
By presenting their Member card, patients who have Southern Cross health insurance can instantly have a claim lodged - and in most cases approved and paid - for treatment costs covered by their policy.
The service applies for doctor consultation charges (if covered under a patient’s Southern Cross policy) as well as costs related to a range of minor surgical procedures, including skin excisions, intra-articular injections and a range of other procedures provided in general practice where covered by a Southern Cross policy.
The service is planned to be extended to other healthcare providers in the future, including optical, dental, physiotherapy and audiology services.
Southern Cross Health Society Chief Operating Officer - Member Services, Anthony McPhail said electronic claiming was an opportunity to add value for GP practices and the Society’s 825,000-strong membership.
“Being able to claim for qualifying healthcare services at the counter is much more convenient for Southern Cross members. They don’t need to worry about saving receipts, filling in claim forms plus there’s no wait for reimbursement. For healthcare providers like GPs, it creates another avenue to encourage patient loyalty and enhance the services available.”
Although Southern Cross Health Society and SCPC share a common brand, they are independent businesses that operate at arm’s length from one another.
SCPC CEO Victor Klap said SCPC looked to work with other Southern Cross businesses when the right opportunity arose.
“SCPC is open to working with partners who share our goals. Southern Cross Health Society is not for profit, highly customer-focused, and has a huge member base, which makes it a particularly attractive partner when looking for ways to help our partner GPs enhance their service.”