Life Insurance Document on Clipboard

Public Health Care Vs Private Medical Insurance in New Zealand

Do I need Private Medical Insurance? It’s a common question that many Kiwis think about.
There are pros and cons to both the public healthcare system and Private Medical Insurance.
Having known of a few people already this year that have serious medical problems, and are still on the public waiting list, I thought I would just highlight the differences between the Public Health Care System and Private Medical Insurance.
Another option would be to “self-insure” by putting funds aside in a savings account for unexpected medical care. The problem being some illnesses can be very, very expensive to treat.

Public Healthcare

Every taxpayer, including beneficiaries, contributes to the health system in New Zealand. Some would argue that you are already contributing towards the public health system so you should use it.

Waiting for treatment can be a reality of the public health system. Being on the waiting list can disrupt your income, and put unnecessary stress on yourself and your family, especially if you are self-employed or one of your children is sick and needing medical attention.

New Zealand has a public healthcare system that is effective in providing healthcare support for accidents, and acute or urgent care, but public hospitals can’t do everything for everyone. Thousands of Kiwi’s living in pain are unable to access healthcare due to the long waiting lists. The number of surgical, dental and mental problems being overlooked is becoming a concern.

For Urgent medical care, the public health system in New Zealand will look after you. Even for non-Urgent, elective care such hip operations or hernia surgery, you will usually get treated, after what could be a painful and lengthy delay on the waiting list.

Waiting for non- urgent surgery such as cardiac procedures, colonoscopies and cataract removals can have a huge impact on your quality of life.

You would also not have a choice of surgeon, would have to go to the nearest public hospital and would be limited to medicines and pharmaceutical products approved by MEDSAFE and also funded by PHARMAC. (There are many treatments and medicines that are NOT funded by PHARMAC, but would be covered under certain private medical insurers)

Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, is the medical regulatory body run by the New Zealand Ministry of Health, administering the Medicines Act 1981 and Medicines Regulations 1984.

The Pharmaceutical Management Agency, better known as Pharmac, is a New Zealand Crown entity that decides, on behalf of District Health Boards, which medicines and pharmaceutical products are subsidised for use in the community and public hospitals.

Private Medical Insurance

Around half of all elective surgeries in New Zealand are funded by Private Medical Insurers.

The issue for many New Zealanders is that private medical insurance can be unaffordable and could be looked at as a luxury. However, if you need a hip or knee replacement, you don’t want to be hobbling around for years in pain on the public health waiting list for treatment.
Going Private provides the funding to enable you to have medical treatment when you need it and gives you access to a broader range of treatment options that are not available to you through the public health system. You would have access to the latest treatments and drugs available. This is one of the main reasons I would recommend considering taking Private medical insurance, as it could make all the difference.

Did you know that a large percentage of approved medical drugs are not funded in the public system?

With No waiting list, you can get it done and recover, knowing that the bills are paid. You would also get to choose your specialist and be able to go to a private hospital. Taking control of your treatment and health could save you a lot of pain and money in the long run.

There are many different Private Medical insurance plans and insurers available in New Zealand that provide full comprehensive cover or just Hospital and specialists and tests.

Quantum Finance has several qualified, Senior Advisers for you to talk to if you have any questions regarding Private Medical Insurance. We are accredited with most of the Major Insurance Companies in New Zealand which enables us to give you the best, unbiased advice.

Karl Taylor, father-of-six with terminal lung cancer found hope when he was told that a drug called Alectinib could prolong or even save his life. Unfortunately, the drug came at a huge cost. The 54-year-old man would have to pay $6,500 per month to stay alive. Read more on Karl’s story. Don’t pass on opportunities that could help save your life, get in touch with Quantum Finance.

Let me help you find the perfect, most affordable cover suitable for you and your family. For a free, no-obligation quote or consult – give me a call on 0274 579 930 or send me an email with any questions you may have. My email address is


Linda Rohrbeck
Senior Risk Adviser
Quantum Finance

Linda Rohrbeck

Linda Rohrbeck

Linda has over 28 years of experience in Personal Risk Insurance and Financial Planning and started her own Mortgage and Insurance brokerage firm in August 2001 In New Zealand.
Linda Rohrbeck

Latest posts by Linda Rohrbeck (see all)