Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and nib celebrate one year of universal healthcare for hapū
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and nib are celebrating the first year of its pioneering Toi Ora programme, which sees enrolled hapū members receive free comprehensive healthcare through our partnership. In its first year, just under 3,000 of the roughly 5,000 hapū members have signed up for the service.
The Auckland based hapū is committed to improving the well-being and health of ngā uri o Tuperiri and took matters into its own hands last year. The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Health Insurance Cover is offered to all registered Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hapū members and is the first free universal private health insurance offered by an iwi grouping for its members.
The aim is to target better health outcomes for whānau and tackle existing barriers Māori experience when accessing healthcare through the public health system. Barriers such as cost, choice, waiting times and accessibility have seen Māori experience the poorest health outcomes within the New Zealand health system.
Anahera Rawiri, Project Manager at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa, who was responsible for the delivery of this project, says the health and wellbeing of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei individuals and whānau is of the utmost importance.
“Our goal is to engage with our whānau and ensure we’re reaching as many members as we can to make sure they know that this is available to them. We want our people to be well and stay well, and empower our whānau to take control of their health and welllbeing,” Anahera says.
“At least thirty-three percent of our enrolled members have completed ‘Wellness’ assessments, which will provide us with population health data we can use to analyse trends and develop preventative programmes.”
For many, the introduction of the policy has been lifechanging says Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei whānau member Nick Hawke. After receiving his first knee replacement surgery on the public health system, Nick received his second replacement surgery under the health insurance plan and says it expedited the process significantly.
“From the day I saw our whānau representative to the day I had the operation was about a six-week period. I might have been waiting another year or two on the public health system, but with the insurance, it was really great. Within six weeks I was out of hospital and recovering” says Nick.
“It’s had a positive impact on my health and it’s not just positive physically, it’s emotionally positive too. I’m able to do a lot more things with my children that I wasn’t able to do before.”
AUT student and whānau member, Selwyn Teua, said the plan has been a huge financial relief for her, as she has been able to receive optical benefits that helped provide her with prescription glasses.
“I think it’s a great inititiave for everyone because a lot of people I know struggle to make health a priority, including me. As a student, cost is often a worry for me but knowing that I can go visit the doctor when I need to is a relief.” Selwyn says.
Selwyn uses the app and says it makes claims fast and easy with a step-by-step process that is simple to follow. Members are able to make claims through the nib app, the online portal, via telephone or in person with the nib representative.
“This is a milestone investment by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei into the direct health of our whānau. We will continue to track the progress of this initiative in the coming years and use this platform to promote discourse about health and wellbeing with our whānau so that we are all utilising this opportunity to further our health prospects.” Anahera says.
nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said they are proud to deliver the programme which allows iwi members to take a more holistic approach to managing their own healthcare.
“Not only are we giving members peace of mind that they are covered in their time of need, but we are also providing access to culturally-appropriate, co-designed health services that help them achieve better health outcomes,” Mr Hennin said.
“It’s been great to see this innovative program come to life to help members of the hapū overcome existing barriers to health, wellness and social care,” he added.
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