- Craig comes to us. He’s listened to our goals, our investment needs and our insurance needs & he’s sold us products that fit best to suit our lifestyle.
- Louis & Barbara Kuriger
- Craig has really looked after us, He’s gone and got the best deals. That’s his job.
- Ross & Shelley Clark
- Dealing with a specialist company like Abacus is vital. That relationship thing is absolutely important because you know someone is going to bat for you.
- Steve Day, MD Pace Engineering
- I am truly grateful to Jamie and consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have received the benefit of his astute advice and assistance.
- - J. F. Pickett
- It has felt very good to know we have Richard and the team at Abacus Group Ltd on our side.
- - Brian and Tracey Downes
- Richard bent over backwards in his endeavours to help us every step of the way through the claim, making the process as simple as possible.
- - John & Carole Lynskey
Our public health system is a blessing.
But it's already groaning under the strain of an ageing population and the pressure is only going to build.
Like a VIP strolling into a nightclub, health insurance lets you cut to the front of the line by going private.
It's worth considering, but it's also expensive.
Lots of people faithfully pay their annual premiums and then have to cancel their cover just when they need it the most.
Here are the best ways to keep insurance costs under control.
First, take care of yourself. Insurers like it when you have some skin in the game.
Some offer a discount of about 10 per cent for those who commit to healthy lifestyles.
That means no smoking, weight within a normal range, not too much booze and plenty of fruit and veggies.
You'll also be penalised for bad habits.
If you ever needed yet another reason to give up the cancer sticks, they're adding another 10 to 20 per cent to your premiums.
If you manage to stay in rude good health for a couple of years, you'll also qualify for a no-claims bonus that can net you another 10 per cent or so, depending on your insurer.
If you've made a decision to get cover, your first port of call should be your employer or union.
They'll get better deals by buying in bulk from the insurer and will often further subsidise the costs themselves.
Otherwise, be sure to shop around and get plenty of quotes. There can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars of difference between similar policies.
Keep in mind that you're not just looking for the cheapest deal, because it's not the same thing as the best value.
That means you have to find your spectacles and read the fine print of what is and isn't included, how much you'll get paid out, and how pre-existing conditions are treated.
Also be wary of getting upsold into adding bits and pieces to the core surgical and non-surgical cover.
Consumer NZ recommends that if you can you afford to pay for doctor's visits, it's probably not worth paying higher premiums for comprehensive cover.
Including GP visits and prescription costs can boost premiums by 50 per cent or more.
You may prefer to "self-insure" by covering these sort of smaller costs yourself and only insuring against the big procedures.
Another way of doing that is to take the highest excess you can afford to pay, which will dramatically reduce premiums by as much as 80 per cent.
Even if you have to pay an excess of $1000 or so when you claim, it's nothing compared to a $50,000 heart surgery.
Just make sure you have the money set aside in an untouchable account so that if you ever need it, you're not scrambling to find funds at short notice.
Final tip: Look at the payment options. You may be able to shave another 2.5 per cent off your premiums by setting up a direct debit.
Health is the last place you want to pinch pennies. But if you take a scalpel to the wasteful bits of your insurance policy, you should be able to carve at least 50 per cent from the bill.
Wishing you all a safe and happy long weekend.
PART TWO OF A SIX-PART SERIES
The provincial hospital in Matanzas where Craig had three emergency surgeries looked good from the outside, but standards, experience and facilities were extremely lacking.
PART THREE OF A SIX-PART SERIES
Richard: “Remember virtually nobody could speak English and we had no Spanish. There was also an underlying culture we didn’t know about until later, that you just had to go along with the system. Being loud and pushy wouldn’t work, we just had to be very patient.