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FMA stops misleading ads for COVID-19 health insurance

16 April 2020

The Financial Markets Authority is warning people about misleading claims that they need health insurance to cover emergency medical bills for COVID-19.

Last week, two advertorials, posted on Chinese-language social media platform, WeChat, were removed following the request of the FMA.

After being tipped off by a concerned party, the FMA contacted the adviser’s office and they agreed to remove the COVID-19 advertorials. The FMA is following up with the advice firm in question.

The posts cited costs for COVID-19 hospitalisations in China – supposedly up to NZ$250,000 – before recommending people living in New Zealand get health insurance to avoid the same financial risk, especially young children and the elderly.

Written like news articles, these advertorial articles failed to mention that in New Zealand, emergency treatment and testing for COVID-19 is free, as it is covered by the public health system, the FMA says.

The Ministry of Health says anyone with an infectious disease is eligible for publicly funded health services. Citizenship and immigration status are not relevant, nor is their length of stay in New Zealand.

Anyone with information about suspicious offers of insurance or investments related to COVID-19 are urged to pass it on to the FMA, by emailing questions@fma.govt.nz.

Last updated on the 16th April 2020