Is health insurance necessary before 30?

Odds & Ends Written by Tom Meates, Apr 7 2016

Tom is one of our lovely insurance advisers based in the Takapuna team. He has a fresh perspective on health insurance and why it's important to think about getting cover at a young age:

As an insurance adviser rapidly approaching 30, many of my friends are going through life changing events. It’s interesting how many people have genuinely no idea about health insurance or why it’s important. Common questions from interested on-lookers are, ‘Do I need it?’ ‘Is it good? ‘Do you have it’? Well yes, yes and yes. Here’s why you should consider Health Cover if you haven’t already:


PECs, PECs and PECs! When I started working at a major health insurer a few years ago I had never heard the term. I quickly realised that PECs are a major factor in any health insurance. PECs stands for ‘Pre Existing Conditions.’ They are conditions or symptoms, which people have suffered from prior to taking out their health insurance. Generally, PECs are automatically excluded. This means you cannot get insurance for that particular pre-existing condition under most plans.

Get cover while you are fit, healthy and have few PECs. You will be fully covered until you cancel your policy. If you happen to have conditions or symptoms already, don’t panic. There are products on the market where you can earn loyalty and be fully covered after a stand down period. Make sure you speak to an expert to get the right coverage and be in the know about which insurers have such offers.


New wonder drugs have been a common theme in media headlines over the last 6 months. New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world and there is a drug (Pembrolizumab) which can help a lot of people make major strides towards recovery. The down side is that the drug comes at a phenomenal cost per cycle and unsurprisingly few New Zealanders can afford it. As technology improves, we are inevitably going to see more and more of these wonder drugs becoming available.

There are health insurance products which actually cover the costs of Med Safe approved non-Pharmac drugs. Drugs like Herceptin for breast cancer and Pembrolizumab for Melanoma are covered under some Health Insurance Plans. If you have a family history of cancer, you need the best coverage available. The sooner you look at your options, the better.

Watch Paul Henry grill the Minister of Health about the funding of Pembrolizumab:

Waiting lists 

Can you afford to not be at your best for 6 months or more while you sit on a waiting list for treatment? Health insurance gives you access to medical care, and fast. It gets you back to work quickly. If you are a young professional making your mark, or a newly qualified tradesman going out on your own, you need to be at the top of your game. Ask yourself, “Can I afford to be in pain and ineffective for months, waiting for treatment?” If the answer is no, you need health insurance. Health insurance is a great place to start. You may also want to look at an Income Protection Product to complement your health cover.

Below is a link to an article about waiting lists from the Press in 2013:

Cheaper than you think 

It’s also relatively cheap. The cost of health insurance increases as you get older. The younger you are, the lower the cost. If you are young you could get good surgical cover for as little as the cost of two coffees a week! The type of plan you should get depends on many factors, for example; if you are looking to have children in the near future, you may want to take up a policy which has a built-in obstetrics benefit. Or you may have a family history of cancer and need the cover for med safe approved, non-Pharmac drugs. A good adviser will be able to point you in the right direction and outline the best options for your particular circumstances

Super easy 

It’s easy. There is no longer a need for lengthy meetings and long application forms. You can now sort your health cover easily over the internet or over the phone from anywhere in New Zealand. (reference NZ melanoma rate).

The opinions expressed in this article should not be taken as financial advice, or a recommendation of any financial product. Squirrel shall not be liable or responsible for any information, omissions, or errors present. Any commentary provided are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily representative of the views and opinions of Squirrel. We recommend seeking professional investment and/or mortgage advice before taking any action.

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