A work crew hug together

It really does matter who is ‘with you’ when it comes to your health

Friday , 21 October 2022 by Jonathan Zouch

Southern Cross Health Insurance is powering up the extraordinary value its members can enjoy. With nearly one in five New Zealanders as members1, Southern Cross takes its responsibility for delivering better access to healthcare services to a whole new level. Southern Cross has expanded the benefits of membership2  to include:

  • unlimited online GP consultations with CareHQ
  • up to three online mental health sessions each policy year with Raise
  • one annual health check for adults each policy year with MedPro

Nick Astwick, Southern Cross Health Insurance CEO says, “Our mantra of ‘When you’re with the right people, it shows’ underscores the importance of our mission to help New Zealanders live healthier lives. We are now building on the great reaction we had to similar added-value offers we made to members in our Better 22 offer.

“We can do this as a for-purpose Friendly Society totally focused on helping our members have more years of good health. We pay out more claims in number and value than any other health insurer3 , we put surpluses back into keeping costs and premiums down and service levels up, and we respond to what our members tell us they need.”

“What members are saying they need and want is a way to prevent poor health. We’ve found 76 per cent of New Zealanders with young families are putting their whānau first4 , and neglecting their own health, when they should be readily able to check something out before it turns into something dangerous.

“Nearly all New Zealanders believe mental wellness affects overall health5 , so they want to understand how to cope with anxiety or stress and many members want to know what kind of shape they are in, or need to be in, to live their best life. That’s why on top of all the other things we do to improve access to better healthcare, we’ve negotiated great benefits for the members who choose to be with us.”

As part of a collective, Southern Cross members often have access to better value and better quality healthcare than they could by paying for services directly. And the more members who join, the stronger the power of the collective.

Astwick says, “One of the findings from our Healthy Futures research showed New Zealanders are getting better at seeking advice from professionals6 , rather than going down an internet rabbit hole, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

“So, membership with Southern Cross includes unlimited virtual consults with CareHQ. This means a mum worried about a rash or a bump, or a dad concerned he may have a bowel issue, can talk about these concerns with an expert sooner and then follow up with their family GP without delay.

“Another Healthy Futures finding showed ‘healthcare costs’ and ‘having to wait’7  are key barriers to seeking help. We hope that unlimited virtual CareHQ consults and an annual check-up with MedPro will help members to take charge of their wellbeing.”

One of the benefits Astwick believes is an absolute must for members is the three mental wellbeing consults with Raise.

“Every day we’re confronted with more news about New Zealanders struggling with mental health. In fact, 85 per cent of New Zealanders are concerned about mental health issues , so it’s absolutely critical we demystify and de-stigmatise this issue and really encourage people to ask for help.

“Right now, a Southern Cross member can start a mental wellness journey by picking up a phone and making an appointment with Raise. You may be struggling with a relationship at home or at work, want support to identify your priorities in life, or need help to work through grief or loss. All these things can affect your health. Raise counsellors can offer trusted, confidential support.”

Astwick comes back to the real difference of Southern Cross and why they are able to help members the way they do.

“As a for-purpose Friendly Society, without shareholders to return dividends to, the Southern Cross mission is entirely focused on supporting members to enjoy good health. Even if they’re not called ‘Caroline’.”

Why the reference to Caroline? Well, that’s evident in a new ad campaign where Southern Cross uses the globally recognised Neil Diamond anthem, Sweet Caroline, to help tell the story of a woman’s journey back to good health.

“Caroline is a wāhine Māori, a whaea, and friend to her loyal team. She’s led them through thick and thin, but then they are there for her as she undergoes her own healthcare challenges. On her triumphant return to work having been supported by Southern Cross, her team serenades her with all the feeling they can muster – they are with her, whatever the circumstances.

“I’ll make no apology for the ‘earworm’ of the Neil Diamond favourite ‘Sweet Caroline’ – we want our promise to stick in New Zealanders’ minds. We’ll show them how we take them by the hand. We want members to know we’re here to walk alongside them, and they are with the right people when it comes to their health.”

1922,000 members on October 18, 2022

2 Terms and conditions apply. Annual health checks with MedPro available to members 18 years and over and are available from 24 October 2022

3 Southern Cross Annual Report

4 Southern Cross Healthy Futures report showed “My family / whānau health and wellbeing rather than my own” is important for 66 per cent of New Zealanders in general, with younger families indexing higher at 76 per cent

5 98 per cent of New Zealanders believe mental wellbeing is strongly or slightly associated with being healthy

6 Southern Cross Healthy Futures showed a 13 per cent drop in New Zealanders getting health information from online sources

7 Southern Cross Healthy Futures: While cost remains the main barrier to medical treatment, there has been a sharp increase in New Zealanders mentioning long wait times compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. This concern is even higher amongst caregivers and Māori.

8 Southern Cross Healthy Futures shows the cost of living is the issue most concerning New Zealanders, with mental health coming in fifth.