New Zealand First has put forward a new measure to ease the burden on the public health system by introducing a SuperGold rebate for health insurance premiums and scrapping fringe benefit tax (FBT) on employer-paid health insurance.
The measures are proposed in Andrew Williams’ Affordable Healthcare Bill in response to a dramatic fall in the number of people who have health insurance, and especially those who retain health cover after they turn 65 – just when they need it most.
“Seniors over 65 years often stop their insurance when their income drops and their premiums escalate, so a 25 per cent rebate would encourage them to keep their health cover.”
The Bill also scraps FBT on health insurance premiums to encourage employers to include health insurance in salary packages.
“The State should not penalise health measures, and FBT sends the wrong message to employers who wish to play a responsible role in their workers’ health arrangements.”
Mr Williams says a situation has been reached where no government can realistically fund all healthcare from tax revenue when public demand is increasing.
“If the Government does not stimulate higher voluntary levels of health cover, the consequence will be greater rationing of public healthcare as we deal with an ageing population and a diabetes explosion,” he said.