Best Health Insurance In NZ With Mental Health Coverage

Date Sep 28, 2021
Blog category Health Insurance
By Sieg C
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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.

Note:

  • Information may be updated without further notice
  • For any inaccuracies, don’t hesitate to contact glimp.

Accuro Health Insurance

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:

  1. To start a case, dial 0800 425 005 number to talk to Jo, a mental health nurse. After analysing your condition, they’ll call back in the next few days. 
  2. They will collect all medical information that can be useful for your case, including your medical history, clinical summary, and more.
  3. They will connect you to an expert team of registered psychiatrists and psychologists, which you can meet through video calls.
  4. Jo will discuss the findings, diagnosis, and treatment options, and recommend a treatment plan and support moving forward.

Advantages:

Accuro's treatment can work for the following:

  • Those who are going through conditions such as anxiety, and stress-related depression, among others
  • Those who don’t have a concrete treatment plan but have previously been diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • Those who have been dealing with some sort of mental health condition, but have not sought medical advice from professionals

Disadvantages: 

  • Not ideal for acute conditions and emergencies where you or your loved ones are currently exhibiting symptoms or are dealing with increasingly regular 'attacks'
  • Need to purchase a Specialist add-on plan on top of your Hospital and Surgical insurance policy, which can add up to your costs
  • The minimum age requirement is 18 years old, so younger people suffering from mental health conditions will not be accommodated

nib Everyday Health insurance

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:

  • Psychiatric, behavioural, psychological or developmental conditions, such as depression, ADD, ADHD, eating disorders
  • Substance misuse including alcohol or drugs
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Continuous care such as geriatric care, palliative care, respite care, long-term care, convalescence and disability care, costs for support
  • Services costs, like becoming senile or developing dementia

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.

Advantages:

  • No questions asked when applying for an insurance plan, especially about complex medical or mental health terms, enabling you to join within 10 minutes
  • Although a 6-month waiting period still applies, you’re covered right away, which means that you can apply for the benefits immediately
  • Open to all New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, so more Kiwis can get professional mental health consultation

Disadvantages:

  • No specific coverage for mental health conditions, so you may still have to shoulder the costs of your mental health treatments
  • The waiting period of 6-months for mental health benefits can be shorter, and may still apply even if you change your coverage
  • No mental health benefit for a hospital plan, which can help you pay for big things like psychotherapy and medications

AIA Health Insurance

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:

  • Psychiatric, psychological and/or neurodevelopment disorders including treatment or counselling for but not limited to pre-senile dementia, senile illness or dementia
  • Geriatric care including in-patient care and disability support services
  • Intellectual disability or intellectual development disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Specific learning disorders
  • Motor disorders, including but are not limited to Tourette’s disorder or dyslexia

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.

Advantages:

  • Big claims amount that you can use on consultations, basic treatments, and even medications, given that they’re indicated in your policy
  • The policy is underwritten by AIA New Zealand Limited, which has earned a very strong financial rating of AA (Very Strong) from Fitch Ratings
  • No medical examinations or tests are required to start coverage, meaning that coverages are assessed based on the information you provided

Disadvantages:

  • No specific coverage for common conditions such as anxiety or depression; only consultations, counselling, and some treatment plans are included
  • No excess is only applicable for the mental health benefit, which means that your monthly premiums can be expensive
  • Experience being suspended for cover for up to 24 months, depending on the circumstances specified in your policy

Start taking care of your mental health

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:

  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865

Get insurance coverage for your mental health

It’s always smart to get comprehensive health coverage for you and your family.

Compare the best deals from health insurance providers in NZ. It's easy and FREE!

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Google rating +
Leah Te Rangi , 2021-09-28

Sign up didn't go quite the way it was meant to. But Kate called and she walked through everything so we could work out what went wrong. she was patient, friendly, supportive and kept me calm to finally get plan registration sorted ( still can't log in though - she must be magic )

Tara Davis , 2021-09-28

Found it really easy to find what i needed and also got a call regarding what deals might be best suited etc. Saves a lot of time. Highly reccommend glimp

John de Jong , 2021-09-26

Easy site to navigate. Gave me great options that suit my household including reputable providers I wasn't familiar with.

Christine Henare , 2021-06-25

I’ve just had a great experience with Kurt from glimp compare. He helped me through the process from the time I clicked onto the website, via the chat function. Long story short I have signed up to a new power and broadband provider with significant cost savings. There was no pressure at any stage, just respectful guidance and facilitation to initiate the new supply.

Chris Lerew , 2021-09-18

Good options, but ideally an option to combine & compare cost for best mobile + broadband option would be nice.