The state of mental health in New Zealand has come a long way. More and more Kiwis are acknowledging mental health illnesses, and not seeing them as taboo. However, it still has a long way to go.
According to a study in 2017 conducted by Gabrielle Jenkin and Samantha Ernst from Otago University, health insurance providers in NZ offer little to no cover for mental health diseases. Out of 36 policies from five providers, 55% of the policies cover some psychiatric consultations, 11% for clinical psychologist consultations, and 36% for psychiatric consultations, with many policies covering only minimal consultation hours and insufficient hospital stays.
As of 2020, the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction reveals that one out of five or 20% of New Zealanders is likely to experience mental illness within the next year. Moreover, 50-80% of Kiwis may develop some form of mental distress or addiction — or both — in their lifetime.
Fortunately, help is always available. NZ insurance providers are improving their policies to be more considerate of Kiwis’ emotional health and wellbeing.
For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we look into the list of health insurance providers in New Zealand with full or partial coverage for mental health.
Accuro’s Mental Health Navigator (MNH) partners with the best health professionals and doctors to provide fast, comprehensive, and confidential access to mental health services. It connects you to nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists for a more accurate diagnosis of your condition and treatment plans, and recommendations.
Currently, MNH is only available under the Specialist plan of Accuro’s Hospital and Surgical insurance policies, defaulted in SmartCare, SmartCare+, StaffCare, StaffCare+, KidSmart, SmartStay, Major Medical Plan, and Real Value Plans. It’s an add-on plan, which isn’t a part of your base policy coverage.
The plan charges no additional costs for the service, while also giving you a $500 mental health consultation benefit. It’s best to check your eligibility for this benefit by calling 0800 222 876, before any consultations.
Note that MNH cannot be accessed by patients below 18 years old.
To use this service, follow these steps:
Accuro's treatment can work for the following:
Both coverages of nib’s Everyday Health Insurance plan offer mental health consultations without additional plan add-ons or costs. The Standard coverage shoulders up to $350 for consultations by a registered psychiatrist or a psychologist, while the Premium coverage shoulders up to $500. The waiting period for both coverages is up to six months.
Anyone living within New Zealand can get Everyday plans. They offer a 14-day free-look period, where nib will refund all the premiums you’ve paid if you deem the plan unfit for your needs. On top of this, you can claim back 60-80% of the plan cost or up to the benefit limit of your policy.
It’s also important to note that only the consultations are free. Unless specified in your policy, the following are usually excluded:
Aside from mental health consultations, both coverages are inclusive of dental and orthodontics, optical examinations, glasses and contact lenses, GP visits and prescriptions, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, remedial massage and vaccinations, and speech therapy.
AIA Private Health Cover offers a comprehensive policy, inclusive of a wide range of benefits such as cancer care, minor and major surgery, medical hospitalisation, diagnostic tests, mental health, and more. You can also get access to AIA Vitality, a well-being programme that helps you make healthier choices and reward you for it.
For the policy’s mental health support benefit, you can claim up to $2,500 per life assured per policy year. This amount shoulders the costs of consultation from a registered NZ psychiatrist or psychologist, counselling and support treatment, or consultations related to other health benefits under the policy such as Surgery or Cancer Care.
From when you’re first referred to a mental health professional, you need to attend counselling, support treatment, and consultations within the next six months of your accepted claims. No excess applies for this cover benefit. On the other hand, the exclusions are:
There’s no minimum commencement age, while the maximum age is 70 years old. No expiry age applies as well. On top of excellent health cover benefits and inclusions, you can also earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $100 premium you’ve paid, as long as you register your Airpoints membership with AIA.
Your mental health is part of your overall well being, and it's important that you know when to ask for help, and/or see a professional.
If you or someone you know are dealing with stress or suffering from a mental illness, reach out and seek help. Call 111 or find additional help through these hotlines:
It’s always smart to get comprehensive health coverage for you and your family.
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