The Importance of Having Medical Insurance

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An associate of mine was popped into a private hospital 3 weeks ago to have a stent put in his heart. It was a straightforward procedure, he was in hospital for 24 hours and was back at work within 48 hours. He has medical insurance and was able to arrange to have the procedure within an afternoon of his Doctor recommending it. A week later, he received the statement of the bill that insurance company paid – $23,000 for the procedure and $2500 for hospital costs.

He checked in with the local hospital, and the waiting list for that same procedure was 18 months, at the regional hospital they said he could not go on the waiting list, as it was full.

So what if he was not covered by his health insurance? He could have gone on the waiting list, or wait to go on the waiting list, or he could have personally paid to go private. How many people have a spare 25K to get an easy heart procedure done?

After spending some time trying to get figures of how much medical procedures cost in NZ, I could only find some figures from 2008. I would guess that the costs have increased by at least 10-15% but take a look.

Do you have this cash in a bank account incase you or a family member needs surgery?

*As at February 2008 (incl.GST). Procedure costs will vary depending on the location, the medical practitioner/s and any medical complications, and the medical procedure and technology used.

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