Last quarter represented a milestone for the health insurance industry in New Zealand – it was the first time claims paid broke through the $1billion mark in a 12 month period. Given we are seeing a rapid rise in the cost of funding healthcare for Southern Cross members, reaching this point did not come as a surprise. However it does highlight the on going affordability challenge facing the industry.
A key part of our response to this challenge is the Affiliated Provider programme which has the primary objective of supporting Southern Cross in having a financially sustainable offering to our members, while maintaining a wide range of high quality healthcare providers from which to choose.
Expansion of Affiliated Provider programme
The last 12 months have seen a large expansion of the Affiliated Provider programme with the number of contracts doubling to over 650 covering 1,200 providers. What is most pleasing to report is that feedback shows our members love using Affiliated Providers, as it is a hassle-free and largely paper-free experience. We have also had good success in ensuring our members have a wide range of choice with most specialties covered by the programme having more than 95 per cent of potential providers signed up as Affiliated Providers.
GPs are also a growing part of the Affiliated Programme with a number choosing to become Affiliated Providers for services such as skin lesion removal and vasectomy. In addition, many GPs are using our online directory, Healthcare finder, to find an Affiliated Provider when referring our members.
Building a sustainable futureMost people would recognise there is still some way to go for the industry to fully address the affordability challenges facing health insurance.However, we are pleased here at Southern Cross to be able to say that the Affiliated Provider programme, one of our important strategies, continues to offer great customer experience. We also are ensuring that, as a business, Southern Cross continues to be sustainable for our 810,000 current members.
Head of Clinical Operations