“Because we don’t have to pay dividends to shareholders, here or overseas, any premium income not used to fund healthcare services is used for the benefit of members – either expanding policy coverage, improving services, strengthening reserves or running the Society. However, delivering value in an environment of rapid claims inflation isn’t without challenge,” says Tynan.
“We’re working hard to mitigate rising claims inflation and our main way to address this is the Affiliated Provider programme where we work with providers to agree prices.
“By joining the programme, providers are showing support for a sustainable private healthcare sector that remains accessible and affordable for New Zealanders. It also means they are able to better service their patients and receive payment for their services faster than through traditional claiming and payment processes.”
Southern Cross has 1266 Affiliated Providers across 20 specialties - such as skin, ophthalmology and orthopaedic. The programme currently accounts for around 45% of claims, and the business aims to grow this to 60% by the end of 2016.
Given the growth of claims and demand for easy access, electronic capability has also been a key focus for the business.
“In streamlining our service, we’ve created tools – such as the ‘My Southern Cross’ portal, where members can manage everything from claiming and updating contact details to AGM voting online.
“Members also have Southern Cross Health Society Easy-claim - point of sale, electronic claiming for eligible items and services. We currently have more than 1,300 Easy-claim providers, including GPs, pharmacies, physiotherapists, optometrists, audiologists and dentists.
“We will continue to develop these and the other initiatives in response to member demand for easier and faster service,” says Tynan.
Southern Cross Health Society overview for the financial year ended 30 June 2015: