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Thread: Private Healthcare?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Vermont, USA --> Wellington
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    Default Private Healthcare?

    We moved to Wellington in July, and one of the primary reasons for our move was to be in a country that provided universal healthcare. (We were paying USD $1,400/month for basic insurance in the US, and we all know that story). So far we're finding it adequate and equitable, but we do miss those personal relationships with doctors who really took time to get to know us and our son.

    One of the unique traits of healthcare in New Zealand is that it's a hybrid system of public and private care. Since health insurance seems to be fairly cheap, I'm wondering if it might be worth looking into the private sector?

    Or, maybe this sort of "sausage factory" healthcare is just a product of being in an urban area, where demand is high and capacity is low? Or maybe someone from Wellington can recommend a great family doctor who works in the public sector?

    Thanks much.

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Blenheim
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    I don't know if I am wrong here- we have private insurance, but only for hospital treatment, not sure how expensive it would be if we took it out for everything or if you can even do that. I would have thought that the only difference it makes it that you claim the money for the doctor's visit back, would hope that the doctor takes the same care regardless of the patient being privately insured or not!
    In Germany, where health insurance is compulsory, some doctors behave differently because they can charge more money from a patient who is privately insured, I hat that kind of behaviour, to be honest, because it makes me question their ethics. We always had to be privately insured because of the self employment of my husband, not because we wanted to be treated differently.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    Kaipara, New Zealand
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    We only use the public system and we have fabulous doctors who have taken quite a bit of time to make my girls comfortable and talk with them about their lives. Maybe you just need a different GP office?

  4. #4
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    Essex, UK
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    But you'd still see the same GPs, wouldn't you? Just as Renate points out, depending on your plan you might be able to claim the money back. It will make a difference for hospital treatment and surgery, and I do believe depending on your plan, the insurance company may (or may not) pay for trial medication and treatment that is not funded via the public system, so that could become relevant.

    I think you need to try a new GP We know ours, she knows us, in fact looks after large parts of the wider family, and I never have the feeling that she is treating us like sausages (so to speak).

    Daniela

  5. #5
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    Feb 2008
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    35,838

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    Last time we were in NZ, M had a problem and went to see our d-i-l's GP in Auckland, then subsequently, one of his partners and the practice nurse, and they were all lovely to us - very interested, kind, and personal, even though we were just visitors. I think you've just struck unlucky with the practice you happen to have gone to first. Ask around and you'll probably be able to get a recommendation for somewhere better.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    California to Tasman Bay
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.C. Slater View Post
    Since health insurance seems to be fairly cheap, I'm wondering if it might be worth looking into the private sector?
    I don't really understand your question. Are you saying that you think if you have private insurance there will be a different doctor that only takes private insurance that will have more time for you? Or are you asking if you have private insurance the doctor you currently have will take more time with you?

    We have private insurance through my husband's work and even though we haven't used it, if we did, we wouldn't go to a different doctor. My father in law has private insurance and needed knee surgery. If he'd gone through the public system, he would have waited 2 more months for his surgery but the doctor performing the surgery was the same.

    I don't live in Wellington so I can't recommend a specific doctor. Perhaps you could ask for a different doctor at the practice?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Vermont, USA --> Wellington
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    Ah, it appears I've misunderstood how the system works. I thought there were some providers that worked for the government and some that worked privately, but it appears it's just the insurance that can be either publicly provided or privately purchased. What is the point of getting private health insurance, then? About 25% of kiwis elect to buy it. Why?

    Anyone know a good GP in Wellington?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.C. Slater View Post
    What is the point of getting private health insurance, then? About 25% of kiwis elect to buy it. Why?
    As stated above, waiting times for non-emergency procedures can shorter, there are private hospitals that are sometimes flasher than the public ones. The doctors are the same: something like Tue, Wed, Thur: surgery at public hospital, Mo, Fri: surgery at private hospital. The NHS works similarly in parts: I had the same surgeon operating on me in a public hospital because it was Friday, someone I know had the same surgeon in a private hospital as a private patient.

    If you're lucky, you can get the best of both: our daughters had surgery in a private hospital but funded publicly because the public hospitals often outsource to meet targets.

    Daniela

  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Kaipara, New Zealand
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    We use Newtown Medical Centre and love them. My daughters see Dr. Nick Ostroff and he's fabulous. I also see another doctor in the practice (Dr. Sui) who's also terrific.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2008
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    We have also had awesome Drs here, both public and privately. I would also change GP practice's.

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