Health maintenance - when to see the professionals

by the Southern Cross Team
Monday , 16 July 2018 - 1-2 minute read
A man smiles while talking to a doctor
Thinking well

Prevention is the best medicine and regular check-ups and appointments with health professionals supports your overall wellbeing. But the costs can add up.

It’s a good idea to know what check-ups you might need when; and how the right day-to-day cover can help.

How often should you see a doctor?

If you’re young and healthy, you probably don’t need an annual check-up. Talk to your doctor first, but a check-up every two to three years might be fine for you.1 Avoiding your doctor could lead to poor health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and other chronic illnesses.2

Unfortunately, many young New Zealanders skip seeing a doctor altogether. One in five Kiwis aged 25-35 reported not seeing a GP because of the cost. 3

So how can seeing a GP be more affordable?

  1. Enrol with a GP practice so you pay less for your appointments.
  2. Consider health cover like HealthEssentials from Southern Cross. It’s a budget-friendly day-to-day healthcare plan that can cover 75% of the cost of visiting some health professionals, including the GP, up to policy limits.

How often should you see a dentist?

By 32 years of age, Kiwis who regularly see a dentist report better oral health, less tooth decay and fewer lost teeth. 4

You should see your dentist at least once a year. And not just for the good of your pearly whites, but for your overall health too. As well as affecting your oral and mental health, poor oral care can lead to more serious health problems, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, endocarditis (an infection of your heart lining) and pneumonia.5,6,7

How often should you see an optometrist?

Today the average Kiwi spends about half a work week online (18 hours)8, so it’s unsurprising that up to 90% of digital device users now show symptoms of digital eye strain, such as sore eyes, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.9

Even if your vision feels perfect today, you should still see an optometrist every two years. One of the big contributors to digital eye strain is uncorrected vision.10

One in four Kiwis under 25 years of age need vision correction. For those over 50 years of age, that increases to two thirds of people needing vision correction.11

What about other health professionals?

One of the biggest health problems we face today is obesity. Two out of three Kiwis are overweight and one out of three is obese.12

It’s a complex health issue, and the right guidance can make a big difference. Seeing a dietitian or nutritionist could help make a positive change and working with a physiotherapist or registered massage therapist could help you avoid injuries and training set-backs.

It all adds up

Being unwell can be expensive but staying healthy isn’t always cheap either. Fortunately, with cover like HealthEssentials it can be affordable. You'll get day-to-day plan with the potential to cover more than $1,250 in healthcare costs every year. Your health is worth it.

Find out more about Southern Cross HealthEssentials and get a free instant quote


  1. (n.d.). Choosing Wisely - Health check-ups - Consumer NZ. Retrieved from
  2. WHO. Improving adherence rates: guidance for countries.
  3. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. (n.d.). Long-term Dental Visiting Patterns and Adult Oral Health. Retrieved from
  5. Taylor GW, Borgnakke WS. Periodontal disease: associations with diabetes, glycemic control and complications. Oral Dis. 2008;14(3):191-203.
  6. Sanz M, Ceriello A, Buysschaert M, et al. Scientific evidence on the links between periodontal diseases and diabetes: Consensus report and guidelines of the joint workshop on periodontal diseases and diabetes by the International Diabetes Federation and the European Federation of Periodontology. J Clin Periodontol. 2018;45(2):138-149.
  7. McNamme, D. (2014, October 8). Beyond tooth decay: why good dental hygiene is important. Retrieved from
  8. (n.d.). Screen Time Skyrocketing – Nielsen. Retrieved from
  9. (n.d.). Management of digital eye strain. - PubMed - NCBI. Retrieved from
  10. (n.d.). Computer Vision Syndrome. Retrieved from
  11. (n.d.). Focus groups: Australians go for glasses while more Kiwis wear contacts - Roy Morgan Research. Retrieved from
  12. (n.d.). Obesity - information for health professionals | Ministry of Health NZ. Retrieved from

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