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Heather McLeod, Department of Public Health

Heather_McLeod_profileB.Bus.Sc. (Hons), CFA, FIA, FASSA, FNZSA, PGDipHealSc

PhD student; BODE³

Contact Details

Tel: +64 4 918 5516
Mobile: +64 4 210 279 7425
Fax: +64 4 389 5319

Research Interests and Activities

Heather is an actuary by profession and since 1993 has worked in healthcare financing, health policy and social security policy. In South Africa she worked on health policy issues for government, including the National Treasury, Department of Health and Department of Social Development. She served on a number of statutory bodies in South Africa including the regulator of private health insurance. As a consultant she has worked with health insurance administrators, trustees, trade unions, NGOs, hospital and pharmaceutical groups.

Heather became resident in New Zealand in 2010 and since 2012 has been with the Ministry of Health as Senior Analyst Palliative Care, advising the Palliative Care Council. She continues to have visiting appointments as Extraordinary Professor, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Stellenbosch and as Adjunct Professor, School of Management Studies, at the University of Cape Town.

Heather has experience in the technical work needed for social health insurance and national health insurance system design, including modelling the equity of healthcare financing, costing minimum benefits and determining formulae for population-based funding, risk adjustment and risk equalisation.

She has experience in modelling the impact of ageing populations on chronic diseases, cancer, health services and the need for palliative care. Her current research interests are in palliative care and the financing of end-of-life care.

Her PhD (on the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE³)) topic, with Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson as supervisors, is “The cost of increasing longevity: morbidity, mortality and healthcare cost consequences for end of life care in New Zealand”.


Blakely, T., Atkinson, J., Kvizhinadze, G., Nghiem, N., McLeod, H., & Wilson, N. (2014). Health system costs by sex, age and proximity to death, and implications for estimation of future expenditure. N Z Med J, 127(1393), 12-25

McLeod, H. (2012) Guest Editorial Changing Paradigms: Including Soul in Actuarial Thinking. South African Actuarial Journal, 12, 165-170

McLeod, H. (2012) The Role of Risk Adjustment in the Equitable Financing of National Health Insurance in South Africa. Development Southern Africa. Volume 29, Number 5, December 2012. 636-656

Armstrong, J., Paolucci, F., McLeod, H., & van de Ven, W.P.M.M. (2010). Risk equalisation in voluntary health insurance markets: A three country comparison. Health Policy, 98 39-49

McLeod, H., & Grobler, P. (2010). Risk equalisation and voluntary health insurance: The South Africa experience. Health Policy, 98(1), 27–38

Ramjee, S., & McLeod, H. (2010). Private Sector Perspectives on National Health Insurance. In S. Fonn & A. Padarath (Eds.), South African Health Review 2010 (pp. 179-194). Durban: Health Systems Trust.

McLeod, H., & Grobler, P. (2009). The role of risk equalization in moving from voluntary private health insurance to mandatory coverage: the experience in South Africa. In D. Chernichovsky & K. Hanson (Eds.), Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research. Vol. 21: Innovations in Health System Finance in Developing and Transitional Economies. Emerald Books.

McLeod, H., & Ramjee, S. (2007). Medical Schemes. In S. Harrison, R. Bhana & A. Ntuli (Eds.), South African Health Review 2007. Durban: Health Systems Trust.

McLeod, H. D. (2005). Mutuality and solidarity in healthcare in South Africa, South African Actuarial Journal, 5, 135-167.

McLeod, H.D., Achmat, Z., & Stein, A.M. (2003). Minimum benefits for HIV / AIDS in South African medical schemes. South African Actuarial Journal, 3, 77-111.