Health Insurance

Compare health insurance providers in New Zealand at Canstar. UniMed, AA Health Insurance, nib, Southern Cross Healthcare and Sovereign were compared on Overall Satisfaction, Claims Outcome, Claims Process, Claims Lodgement, Clarity of Policy, Communication, Quality of Service and Value for Money.

Rated brands

Overall satisfaction*

Value for money


Claims lodgement

Claims process

Quality of service

Clarity of policy

Claims outcome

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*Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are sorted by the mean overall satisfaction score as rated by consumers.

Canstar research finalised in and published in June, 2020.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers Award | UniMed

UniMed rated number one for customer satisfaction

You can entrust your health to UniMed

For 5 Star healthcare cover, UniMed is Canstar’s prescription.

As we, as a nation, have battled the spread of coronavirus, as individuals we’ve become far more focussed on personal and family health.

This includes private health insurance. For while we’re lucky here in Aotearoa to have adequate state care, nearly a third of all Kiwis (approx. 28%) have some form of private health insurance.

For these policy holders, knowing they have extra access to the best medical help and advice is something that provides reassurance in the face of the uncertainties of ill health.

As part of our mission to inform consumers of the best health insurance providers NZ has to offer, Canstar canvassed the opinions of 1047 New Zealanders who have health insurance and have made a claim within the past 12 months across a range of categories, to measure and track their satisfaction.

To decide which health insurance provider offers the best level of customer satisfaction, each was rated across the following categories:

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Claims Lodgement
  • Claims Outcome
  • Claims Process
  • Clarity of Policy
  • Communication
  • Quality of Service
  • Value for Money

Excelling in every category, UniMed takes home Canstar’s award for Most Satisfied Customers | Health Insurance Providers. Already one of NZ’s top four health insurers, UniMed thoroughly deserves this year’s award, thanks to its clean sweep of 5 Star ratings. Also scoring highly, Southern Cross Healthcare earned 5 Stars for Claims Process, Claims Lodgement and Communication. 

What customers want?

Due to the costs involved with private health insurance, it’s no surprise that customer satisfaction is driven primarily by value for money. Nor is it surprising that Quality of Service rates highly, too: 23%. Given the stresses involved with ill-health, if you do need to seek help from your health insurance provider, you expect a high level of customer service. Less important for consumers, as revealed by Canstar’s latest research, is the ease of the whole claims application process. Overall, the main drivers of customer satisfaction: 

Drivers of satisfaction %
Value for Money 33%
Quality of Service 23%
Claims Outcome  12%
Clarity of Policy  11%
Claims Process 10%
Communication 10%
Claims Lodgement 2%

The cost of good health

What price can you put on good health? According to those in Canstar’s survey, the answer is an average yearly health-care premium of $2378. If that sounds like a lot, you’re not alone, as over half (55%) in our survey think health insurance is becoming too expensive. But for that money, what you’re buying is reassurance in the event of illness: 62% of respondents say that their cover provides peace of mind.

While a third of those in our survey admit to sticking with their current provider because of an existing condition, if you are unhappy with the cost of your cover, it can pay to shop around for better, more affordable cover. If you’re considering a switch, let Canstar’s latest health insurance ratings guide your choice. For as our star ratings prove, if you take out a policy with UniMed, you’ll have your satisfaction levels, as well as your health, covered!

Canstar surveyed 5250 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from health insurance policy holders who have made a claim within the past 12 months. In this case, 1047 New Zealanders.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.


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About Private Health Insurance

What is Private Health Insurance?

New Zealand’s  health and disability system is mainly funded from general taxation. The Ministry of Health allocates more than three quarters of the public funds it manages via Vote Health to DHBs, who then use this to purchase and provide public health services.

Other funding sources include the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and other government agencies. But the public health system does not cover all healthcare and private health insurance covers a wider variety of healthcare options.

More than 1.4 million New Zealanders have private health insurance, according to the Health Funds Association of New Zealand. Having private health insurance means New Zealanders can access treatment without the often-lengthy wait of the public health system. It also gives the policy holder some more control over their healthcare, such as the option of getting cover for extra treatments, such as dental, optical, chiropractic or physiotherapy.

These are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to health insurance.

Policy wording may use different terms and you should read the terms and conditions of the relevant policy to understand the inclusions and exclusions of that policy.

Annual limit: The maximum benefit payable for a particular service within a 12-month period.

Benefit: The dollar amount paid to you by your health fund when you make a claim with your hospital cover or extras cover.

Benefit limitation period: Benefit limitation periods are a period of time after taking out your health insurance policy where you will only be able to claim a restricted amount of benefit for nominated conditions. This time period usually commences after standard waiting periods have been served.

Claim: When you request that your health funds contributes to the cost of health services provided by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare provider. If you have already paid the invoice in full, you can make a claim with your health fund afterwards and they will reimburse you with some or all of the cost via a direct payment such as electronic funds transfer or cheque. If the invoice has not yet been paid, the health fund will pay this invoice in full, and then request that you pay them the balance owing (the difference between the actual bill and the amount the health fund will cover).

Compensation or Damages: Fund benefits are not payable when compensation and/or damages may be claimed from another source, such as Workers’ Compensation, Compulsory Third Party (CTP) car insurance, Common Law, Sports Insurance, Travel Insurance, Litigation, or Crimes Compensation.

Default Benefits: The minimum level of benefits private health insurers must pay, as set down by the Government. These cover claims for treatment provided in public hospitals, non-contracted private hospitals and day surgeries.

Elective surgery: Surgical treatment of a condition that, according to your doctor, does not require immediate attention. Elective surgery waiting lists are one reason why it’s great having health insurance.

Excess: Much like with a car insurance policy, your health insurance policy charges an excess when you make a claim. It is an amount of money you agree to pay for hospital admission or medical services before you can claim anything back from your health fund. An excess does not apply to extras cover. Learn more about the health insurance excess.

Exclusions: Any medical procedure, treatment, or health service that is not covered by your policy. You cannot make a claim for these items with your health insurance.

Pre-existing condition: An ailment, illness, or health condition is considered to be pre-existing if, in the opinion of a doctor appointed by the health fund, it existed at any time during the 6 months prior to the member joining a hospital cover or upgrading to a higher level of cover. Health funds can impose a maximum 12-month waiting period for hospital treatment for ailments, illnesses, or conditions that are considered to be pre-existing. Learn more about health insurance pre-existing conditions.

Premium: The annual payment or monthly payment (or other regular periodic payment) that a policyholder makes to a health insurance company to pay for having health cover.

Restriction: Some hospital cover policies have procedures that are restricted, meaning they will only pay the Public Hospital Benefit for that procedure. Policyholders would pay a considerable gap fee if they chose to be treated for a restricted procedure.

Waiting periods: The time you need to wait after buying health insurance, before you can start claiming benefits on the policy. Learn more about health insurance waiting periods.