Media releases 2013

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Please contact: Alistair Gray, Communications Adviser, Southern Cross Healthcare Group
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High claiming from kids

Monday, 8 July 2013 by Aimee Bourke

If you’ve ever wondered whether health insurance for children is worthwhile then figures released today by Southern Cross indicate the answer is a firm ‘yes’.

New figures from New Zealand’s largest health insurer show the country’s children are high users of health insurance policies, claiming for over 100,000 medical services in 2012 – outpacing claims from those in their 20s, 30s and even 40s.
Tonsillectomies and removal of teeth top the list of treatments funded by Southern Cross for its youngest members last year.
However, Peter Tynan, Southern Cross Health Society CE points out that the under 20 age group is large - representing 200,000 of the not-for-profit’s 820,000 member base.
“This is because a lot of parents recognise the value health insurance provides and that the best time to get cover is when you’re young and healthy, before conditions develop.”
Although GP visits are free for children under six, sometimes common childhood illnesses can require specialist intervention. The reality is that this may mean waiting on public lists for appointments, diagnostics and treatments.
The alternative is to pay for private treatment, however the cost of an on-going throat disorder, resulting in a tonsillectomy, can cost as much as$4,900, while wisdom teeth extraction can be as high as $8,500.
“As a parent there’s nothing worse than watching your child go through an illness – the last thing you want to be worrying about is if you can afford treatment,” says Tynan.
Southern Cross has been looking after the health of New Zealanders for over 50 years.
Tynan says that’s why Southern Cross provides free cover for third and subsequent children and, if parents sign up their newborn within the first three months, they receive cover for qualifying pre-existing conditions.
Top five procedures for those aged under 20 by gender and cost
Funded by Southern Cross Health Society for the 12 months ended December 2012
Tonsillectomy $2,281,000
Removal of teeth $1,892,000
GP visit $1,023,000
Endometriosis surgery $ 805,000
Grommet Insertion $ 771,000
Tonsillectomy $2,205,000
Removal of teeth $1,355,000
Grommet Insertion $1,144,000
GP visit $ 930,000
Adenoidectomy $ 893,000