Kaumaatua health partnership between Waikato-Tainui and Southern Cross Health Insurance expands

Thursday , 9 February 2023 by Jeremy Vargo

Southern Cross Health Insurance is enhancing its HealthEssentials policy with greater value and new benefits, including cover for rongoa Maaori health services. These changes are designed to ensure the policy continues to help to meet the day-to-day health needs of policyholders, including kaumaatua.

Waikato-Tainui offers an annual medical grant to its 14,000 registered kaumaatua aged 60+ to provide relief and support in meeting age-related medical costs. Kaumaatua can choose to apply the grant to a Southern Cross HealthEssentials policy which provides a level of cover for some day-to-day healthcare services.

Working in partnership with Waikato-Tainui and after consultation with other HealthEssentials policyholders, members can now claim back up to $250 for prescriptions and visits to healthcare providers such as GPs and nurse practitioners - up from $150.

They can also use $500 of dental care cover, claim for a range of optometry services and up to $250 for self-care consultations and treatment including physiotherapy, chiropractic, or rongoa Maaori. In the past, without health insurance, kaumaatua may have delayed seeking treatment for conditions that can now be addressed sooner.

Southern Cross’ 2022 Healthy Futures research revealed 78 per cent of Maaori are concerned about having access to good, affordable healthcare and that only 50 per cent of Maaori are happy with their health, 10 per cent lower than non-Maaori respondents. Sixty-two per cent are concerned about not being able to afford to access what they need to be healthy.

The enhanced policy available tor Waikato-Tainui kaumaatua through the medical grant helps to address these concerns.

Waikato-Tainui General Manager Heritage and Identity, Glenda Taituha, said the 80,000 member strong iwi 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 continuing partnership with Southern Cross will help us to make sure they can live healthier lives,” said Glenda.

Kerry Boielle, Southern Cross Health Insurance’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, said the ongoing partnership 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. We have an ambition to support healthier years for more New Zealanders, and providing effective and meaningful options for people to take care of their health and wellbeing is something we’re wholeheartedly committed to.

“We launched this partnership with Waikato-Tainui last year to offer a policy that would work with its kaumaatua grant. Since then we've been working together to understand the needs of the kaumaatua, together with other policyholders as part of our product design approach.

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

"As an iwi, we want to be more influential in bringing about better health outcomes for our people, said Glenda.

“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. 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.