The limitations of ACC - and how Kiwis get caught out.

WHAT ACTUALLY IS ACC?

ACC is a scheme that Kiwis put money in to, so that if and when we get injured, ACC covers the bills.

 

It’s a “no-fault” scheme, so it doesn’t matter how you were injured - (even if you were doing something silly), they’ll cover it.

 

WHAT DOES ACC COVER? ANY ACCIDENTAL INJURY.

For example; if you break your arm, ACC will cover:

  • Surgery and treatment costs

  • Rehabilitation costs

  • Up to 80% of your income, if you can’t work because of your broken arm. e.g. if you’re a builder, working with one arm is pretty difficult.

Learn more about what ACC covers

When you think about it, ACC is just a huge government-run insurance company. They sometimes get a bad wrap, and the scheme does need to be kept on its toes, but in general, we’re better off to have ACC in place. A lot of the time, people’s negative opinions about ACC arise because they don’t completely understand how it works, and the limitations in place.

 

ACC’S LIMITATIONS

Over 81% of people in the hospital across New Zealand are there due to illness, not injury. And ACC doesn’t cover illness.*

 

That basically says it all. The majority of the time people need help with medical bills and replacement income, it isn’t because of an injury.

 

Yes, the public health system kicks in here, but this can take a long time. For example, you could be diagnosed with a heart condition, and be put on a waiting list. It could be a number of months before you receive treatment, depending on how bad your condition is compared to other New Zealanders (many wait longer than a year).

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Insurance companies are willing to step in here, and there are two key types of insurance that can fill in the gaps left by ACC.

 

MEDICAL INSURANCE

Covers you for both accidents and illnesses, providing access to treatment straight away, and the good ones offer non-pharmac drugs - e.g. medicine not subsidised by the government (and there are a lot of them).

The benefits:

  • You have a choice - about when you have treatment, who does it, and where. You don’t get this in the public health system.

  •  You get treatment straight away, and your condition isn’t prioritised against other New Zealanders (i.e there’s no waitlist).

  • You get access to a range of things which aren’t available through the public health system.

 

INCOME PROTECTION

This one is simple. If you are unable to work due to your illness, this type of insurance will pay up to 75% of your income, each month, until you can go back to work. Remember, your ability to earn an income is your most important asset. You and your family will likely struggle if you aren’t able to earn money.

 

As always with insurance, you can’t afford to get it wrong, so it’s best to chat to an expert who knows what they’re talking about. Our independent financial advisers can lay out what kind of insurance is on the table for your situation, and what level you should take out, depending on your needs. Best of all, their help is free of charge.

 

And if you want any other help or advice around ACC, such as how to reduce your levies (if you’re self-employed), get in touch and we’ll sort the rest.

Jessica Smee