Private Health Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions

Does my health insurance cover COVID-19? 

The Ministry of Health will cover the cost of your hospitalisation if you are admitted to public hospital with COVID-19. This includes any or all of the following:  

  • The surveillance of people who are required to be quarantined
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment of the person’s infectious or quarantinable disease
  • Follow-up services and Contact tracing services.
  • The extent of the Ministry of Health cover will be determined based on what is appropriate in the circumstances to address the risks to other people and as determined appropriate by a clinician. For more information please visit
  • For expenses that aren’t covered by the Ministry of Health, please check your policy details to see if there may be some out of pocket expenses that your insurer may cover.
  • However, please be aware that in New Zealand most health insurance policies have an exclusion for acute medical conditions and observations. An acute medical condition means a sign, symptom or condition that needs hospital admission for treatment or monitoring, immediately or within 48 hours. 

Does my cover change as a result of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic? 

The World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. For most Private Health Insurers this declaration does not affect your cover. Your cover will operate as per its normal policy terms and conditions. 

Does my policy cover me for doctor and specialist appointments by video or telephone?

If your policy covers you for GP or specialist consultations and these need to be conducted by video or tele-consultations due to COVID-19, depending on your private health insurer they may cover these as an exception to the normal policy requirement that all consultations be in-person. Telephone and video consultations may be treated the same as in-person consultations in line with your policy terms and conditions. Please check with your adviser or insurer.

How can I find a GP or specialist that offers video or tele-consultations?

We recommend that you first check if your current GP or specialist offers video or tele-consultations. If they do not offer this service, Whitecoat provides a directory of dedicated telehealth providers across New Zealand which includes GPs and specialists. This directory is continually being updated as health providers offer video and tele-consultations and register with Whitecoat.

If I’ve been financially affected by COVID-19, what should I do?

If you have been financially affected by COVID-19 and are experiencing financial hardship, please call your private health insurer where they can discuss options to help you maintain your health cover through this difficult period.

What happens if my treatment is delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19?

In the event your treatment is delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19, your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon will advise you what the next steps are. Should you need to update your pre-approval to reflect the new date of your treatment, get in touch with your insurer.

Am I covered for diagnostics tests for COVID-19?

The Ministry of Health will cover diagnostics tests for COVID-19. Please note these tests can only be ordered by your doctor if you meet the testing criteria. Should you be asked to pay for these tests, you can check your policy details to see if your policy may cover you.

Will COVID-19 be considered a pre-existing condition?

If you implement private health insurance today and have any pre-existing medical conditions such as COVID-19, depending on your policy you may need to disclose these at time of joining. Some pre-existing medical conditions may be covered immediately, while others may have a stand-down period or be permanently excluded. To find out more please speak with your adviser today.

Does my policy cover me to visit my GP if I think I have COVID-19?

The cover provided by your health insurance policy depends on the policy you have selected. If you have the GP Option, doctors’ visits may be partially covered up to benefit limits and in line with the policy terms and conditions.

If the public health system is at full capacity and turns me away, can I use my private health insurance?

At this stage all hospital treatment related to COVID-19 would be provided by the Ministry of Health through the District Health Boards throughout New Zealand. In the event a large number of the population become infected with COVID-19 District Health Boards will work with their Primary Health Organisations and community primary care providers to create pathways of care that best suit their regions and populations.

Most Private Health policies exclude cover for acute conditions, meaning emergency treatment is not covered at private hospitals and health insurance is not designed to replace, but instead to complement it.

Should I cancel my planned surgery as a result of COVID-19?

It is recommended that you contact your medical practitioner, specialist or surgeon for any questions related to COVID-19 and upcoming procedures. They will be able to advise you of what the next steps are.

Please contact your Amicus Adviser or your Private Health Insurer per the below contact details:

Amicus Group
Phone Please click on the above link for your Advisers contact information.

Southern Cross
Phone 0800 800 181

Phone 0800 123 642

Phone 0800 500 108

Partners Life
Phone 0800 145 433

Reference: Nib

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