Waikato Tainui offers health insurance to improve health outcomes of its kaumaatua

Monday , 2 May 2022 by Andrew Drever

Waikato-Tainui has partnered with Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) to offer health insurance to its 14,000 kaumaatua and help facilitate better health outcomes for its tribal members.

The announcement comes at the same time as new research reveals 78 per cent of Maaori are concerned about having access to good, affordable healthcare.

The Kantar survey* commissioned by Southern Cross also uncovered that only 50 per cent of Maaori are happy with their health, 10 per cent lower than the general population, and 62 per cent are concerned about not being able to afford to be healthy.

The iwi currently offers an annual kaumaatua medical grant to its registered tribal members aged 60+ to provide relief and support in meeting age-related medical costs. This year, for the first time, kaumaatua can apply for the grant and choose to apply the grant to a Southern Cross Health Insurance policy which provides cover for day-to-day healthcare services.

The policy aims to remove the cost barrier to accessing day-to-day healthcare services, such as GP visits, dental care, optometry and self-care specialist consultations like physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment, that kaumaatua may have otherwise delayed or not sought at all.

Waikato-Tainui General Manager Heritage & Identity Glenda Taituha said the iwi, which has 80,000 tribal members, has always prioritised investment in its people, particularly when it comes to their health.

“We want to protect our valuable kaumaatua and help them to stay with their tamariki and mokopuna for longer. Our kaumaatua guide us, and without them we would be lost, so we have huge aspirations to care for and protect them by increasing access to preventative healthcare.

“We’re always looking for ways where we can create an impactful investment for our tribal members, and this partnership with Southern Cross will help us to make sure they can live healthier lives,” said Glenda.

Southern Cross Health Insurance CEO Nick Astwick said the opportunity to partner with Waikato-Tainui has been a huge honour and is a meaningful step forward in supporting the health insurer’s aspiration to improve health outcomes across the nation, including those in vulnerable communities.

“As New Zealand’s largest health insurer, we feel a huge responsibility to work with Maaori to effect change. In these uncertain times, there has never been a more important time to support and protect health and wellbeing, and this is something we’re wholeheartedly committed to.

“It’s a privilege to be making a positive contribution in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui, and we’re looking forward to helping their kaumaatua to better manage their everyday health and wellbeing and give them more years in better health, to spend with their whaanau,” said Nick.

Glenda said the iwi wants to be more influential in designing better health outcomes for its people.

“Our kaumaatua are the connectors of our people, and if they better understand health and wellness, then they can bring the whaanau along on the journey. It’s vital that our kaumaatua receive more culturally appropriate and supportive care and we see this partnership as a step towards achieving that. Amohia ake te ora o te iwi. The health and wellbeing of our people is paramount,” she added.

* Kantar research, total sample size 2,000, Maaori sample size 361 – March 2022.