Affordable Healthcare Bill
Parliament is preparing to debate the Affordable Healthcare Bill.
The Bill aims to reduce the burden on the public health system. It proposes changes for those aged 65 and over, employers, employees, and migrants who are parents of New Zealand residents, which will help more people gain (and maintain) access to private healthcare in NZ.
Affordable Healthcare Bill – what does it propose?
- The Government provides people over 65 with a 25% health insurance premium rebate, up to the value of $500 a year.
- That fringe benefit tax (FBT) is removed from health insurance to incentivise employers to include it in a salary package.
- That parent category migrants are required to have health insurance when they arrive in New Zealand, and maintain it for 10 years.
Have your say
To further this Bill through Parliament, it needs to be voted on by MPs. It makes a real difference when individuals contact elected representatives. If this is something you’d like to see become law, you can email Minister of Health Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman: email@example.com, expressing that you support the Affordable Healthcare Bill and would like to see it progress through to Select Committee to be discussed further.
Over a third of public health spending is for people aged 65 and over. As the population ages and there are proportionally more elderly, costs will continue to rise.
This age group however, has reduced disposable income, and many find comprehensive health insurance cover beyond their budget – at the time when they need access to the widest possible range of healthcare services.
Those with health insurance rely heavily on it to access treatments to help keep fit and active. Taking this level of personal responsibility also means savings for the public health system.
The cost of healthcare is one of the largest financial challenges facing New Zealand.
Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT)
Employers are currently penalised with additional tax payments via FBT for looking after the wellbeing of their employees and contributing to a healthier workforce.
Research shows that if FBT on health insurance were removed, more employers would provide this benefit. The removal of FBT on health insurance would then align with the current tax treatment of accident insurance (ACC) - which has no FBT applied.
For the same reason it’s important to get those with injuries back to work promptly, it’s equally important that those with illness should receive prompt medical treatment. This doesn’t happen with public waiting lists.
The Affordable Healthcare Bill makes economic sense because:
- A faster return to work from illness results in higher productivity and savings for businesses.
- There will be direct savings to the public health system.
Parent category migrants
A policy that is common in other countries, this change would provide the more than 5,000 parent migrants entering New Zealand each year a good healthcare pathway at a time in their lives when they need it most.