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Health Insurance Struggle

New Zealanders are paying more for common medical procedures than patients in other countries, regarding a previously unpublished international comparison conduct by private health insurers.
The investigate on the comparative costs of procedures such as hip replacements and cataract removals was carried out last year by the International Federation of Health insurance in a bid to support US President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms.
The New Zealand figures were omitted, largely because such a small country was considered to have little relevance to the debate.

The Sunday Star-Times has obtained a copy of the report containing the New Zealand figures and they are likely to spark fierce debate over whether excess charges by some doctors here are contributing to medical inflation which is driving up health insurance premiums at an average of 9% a year.

The fee for cataract surgery in New Zealand was reported as $US1168, lower than in Australia, but far higher than higher-income countries such as Germany, France and Holland, and even higher than some doctors in the US.

As yet the report has not been circulated in New Zealand, so whether or not the comparisons are done on a like-for-like basis still has to be debated. Tom Sackville, the chief executive of IFHP, who visited New Zealand several years ago to promote greater government support for the private healthcare sector, was not available for comment.

Health insurers are struggling with the rising costs of such surgical procedures, but are not willing to publicly take on doctors and surgeons over their fees, pointing to the multiple causes of medical inflation, including the rise in the amount of elective surgery and constant medical advances.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 26th, 2010 at 2:42 am and is filed under Florida Health Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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