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Thread: Concern over heath insurance in NZ if something serious happens- Scary for US to NZ

  1. #1
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    Default Concern over heath insurance in NZ if something serious happens- Scary for US to NZ

    My wife and I will be moving to Wellington this September for a year. I'm facing an issue with insurance that I do not think has been brought up before, but can be really a scary situation for any Americans who are moving to NZ.

    Since my job is only for a year I need to buy insurance in NZ, which is pretty simple and inexpensive through Southern Cross. But the problem is when you read the fine print (and this applies to all immigrants who do not yet have their IRRV):

    Please correct me if I am wrong...

    If you develop a serious condition in your first 2 years in NZ you will be shipped back to your original country. This is regardless of whether you have coverage in NZ. And if you are shipped back to the US you are in a very dire situation. You now have a new "pre-existing condition." And since you no longer have US insurance, you basically will be unable to purchase health coverage, so you will go bankrupt covering your new condition (or worse.)

    So if in your first 2 years in New Zealand you get in a serious car accident, have a stroke, get diagnosed with cancer have a heart attack... whatever... and you now will have serious health expenses moving forward.... you get can lose your NZ Visa due to this health issue and then are "evacuated" to the US. This too me represents a huge risk for any American emigrating to NZ. Unless I am wrong, if you give up your US health insurance policy then you are rolling the dice with your future. Something serious happens in the first two years and you are now a seriously ill person back in the US with no access to health insurance. This will be changed in 2014 if the health care reform passed by Obama holds up- but who knows if that is happening.

    In our case we are going to try and purchase expensive U.S. health insurance (that we won't use in NZ), because we do not want to take the risk. The U.S. insurance will cost 10X private insurance through Souther Cross. But at least with the U.S. insurance, if something terrible happens and we are shipped back to the U.S. we will have health care. The alternative is too risky for us.

    Of course, if you are from a country with nationalized healthcare, this is a non-issue...
    Last edited by tk1; 27th June 2012 at 11:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    To be clear, this is really more an issue with the U.S as opposed to N.Z. But it is still a risk once you have cancelled your prior US pollicy. And NZ has definitely deported people within their 1st 2 years after they develop something serious.

  3. #3
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    I suggest calling them up (Southern Cross) and ask/explain your situation, as there is a certain coverage you can buy --- a certain travelers type travel insurance (hope this makes sense). Where they don't ship you out of NZ if it gets expensive.

    We had to buy it, even being from Canada. In Canada you have to be in the prov for 90 days before health coverage kicks in...once you've been out of Canada/Prov for a bit.

  4. #4
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    From what I read, this seems to be concern for people moving here on Work Visa, a colleague on mine (here on Work Visa) does pay up more amount than us.

    I haven't come across any such clause for Residence visa (probably I'm missing something here), are you sure about this ?
    and this applies to all immigrants who do not yet have their IRRV

  5. #5
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    I am basing this off of conversations with Southern Cross and their website.

    Southern Cross is great while you are in NZ. But they clearly state that if something serious happens that is going to be expensive then you get medically evacuated to your home country and their coverage is over. And back in the US with a new serious health problem is bad news.

    And I know of several stories of the NZ government cancelling a Visa when an immigrant without IRRV status develops a serious medical condition.

    I actually agree with NZ and Southern Cross foe having this policy as it protects them. The issue is what happens when you return to the US without healthcare coverage.

    It is a small risk something like this happens... but a scary situation if it does.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1 View Post
    And I know of several stories of the NZ government cancelling a Visa when an immigrant without IRRV status develops a serious medical condition.

    Sorry , I cannot find any rule in any PDF or INZ Manual that sepcifies that the Resident Visa, can be cancelled due to health issues developed while in NZ, Before PR (new term) or IRRV(old term) is issued to that person. Can you please point me to section where this is stated or point me to the examples you have quoted.

    This Cancellation of Visa due to health condition may only apply to Tourist visa or Temporary visa, Where Insurance Company / NZ can transfer you back to your country of Origin.
    Last edited by shawankit; 27th June 2012 at 02:29 PM.

  7. #7
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    The health criteria don't apply to a person with a Resident visa wanting to apply for PR. This is from the INZ Operational Manual. http://www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/ Go to Administration A4 Health Requirements A4.10 Acceptable standard of health (applicants for residence).

    A4.10 Acceptable standard of health (applicants for residence)

    Applicants for residence class visas must have an acceptable standard of health unless they have been granted a medical waiver. An application for a residence class visa must be declined if any person included in that application is assessed as not having an acceptable standard of health and a medical waiver is not granted (see A4.60).
    Applicants for residence class visas are considered to have an acceptable standard of health if they are:
    unlikely to be a danger to public health; and
    unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand's health services or special education services; and
    able to undertake the work on the basis of which they are applying for a visa, or which is a requirement for the grant of the visa.
    The conditions listed in A4.10.1 are considered to impose significant costs and/or demands on New Zealand's health and/or special education services. Where an immigration officer is satisfied (as a result of advice from an Immigration New Zealand medical assessor) that an applicant has one of the listed conditions, that applicant will be assessed as not having an acceptable standard of health.
    If an immigration officer is not initially satisfied that an applicant for a residence class visa has an acceptable standard of health, they must refer the matter for assessment to an Immigration New Zealand medical assessor (or the Ministry of Education as appropriate).
    Despite (d) above, referral to an Immigration New Zealand medical assessor (or the Ministry of Education) is not required where the applicant is the partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or residence class visa holder, unless the provisions of A4.60(a) or A4.60(c) apply.
    Note: These instructions do not apply to residents and former residents applying for a permanent resident visa or a second or a subsequent resident visa.
    (my bolding)

  8. #8
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    Interesting. How does this explain the high profile case a while back when a man who got a visa by setting up a car business in the Northland was sent back home after developing a heart condition requiring a bypass operation? I can pull the link to the story later but maybe you remember it?

    From you link it sounds like you cannot have your visa revoked for a new health condition. Does this mean you are also eligible for an IRRV even if you develop a problem prior to the 2 year mark?

    Unfortunately for me it is an issue either way. I am coming over on a 1 year fixed term position so my Visa is good for 1 year only. So I will be returning to the US unless I secure a permanent position once I am in NZ. So with the way US healthcare law stands, if something happens to me during that year I will be in a bad position when I return to the US because there will have been a break in my insurance, so any new or preexisting conditions will be excluded. That is why we plan on continuing a US policy when we are in NZ. Insurance is for two reasons. The first is to pay for regular health expenses - which Southern Cross will be great for. But the other reason for insurance is to protect against the unforeseen calamity. And at least in my case, I will not be protected from this unless I get to the point where I get an IRRV or keep my US insurance.

  9. #9
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    This is the case I was remembering, but maybe it should not be generalized to all wok visas?

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Immigrant-bus...0/Default.aspx

  10. #10
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    Better hope Obamacare stands. For non-Americans, you cannot possibly understand what a patchwork disaster the US healthcare system is. I understand your concern completely and have the same issues.

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