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Health Insurers Report Higher Claims Costs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Health Insurers Report Higher Claims Costs

Wellington, Aug 9 NZPA - Health insurers continue to report high levels of claims costs and say there has only been a small drop in the number of people covered by health insurance despite averse economic conditions.

Health insurers paid $797 million in claims in the year ended June, up $72 million on June 2009, the Health Funds Association (HFANZ) said. Around 80 percent of the value of claims paid related to elective surgery and associated costs.

On average, claims costs have risen 9 percent per annum during the past five years.

"Growth in claims costs has been running at a high level over recent years due to increased demand, expansion of services funded, and medical inflation. Cost-shifting from the public sector has also contributed," HFANZ executive director Roger Styles said.

Premium income rose 8.5 percent on the June 2009 year to $918 million, up from a 5 percent increase for the previous June year.

There was a drop of 800 in the number of lives covered in the June quarter.

About 1.389 million New Zealanders have health insurance.

"Overall, coverage tends to be holding up pretty well despite the adverse economic conditions over the last couple of years," Mr Styles said.

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