Compare health insurance providers in New Zealand at Canstar. AA Health Insurance, Accuro Health Insurance, nib, Southern Cross Health Insurance, Sovereign and UniMed were compared on Overall Satisfaction, Communication, Comprehensiveness of Cover, Cost, Customer Service, Ease of Claim and Value for Money.
Value for Money
Comprehensiveness of Cover
Ease of Claim
*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 Blue research finalised in July 2021, published in July 2021.
AA Health Insurance rated number one for customer satisfaction
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that health has been to the fore over the past 12 months. The global pandemic has certainly focussed attention on how susceptible the human body is to illness. No matter what your age or general fitness levels, you can’t afford to be complacent. Covid-19 has taught us that nobody is immune to ill health.
Around a third of Kiwis have some form of life insurance. And Canstar’s latest research reveals that half of us appreciate the peace of mind that a health insurance policy provides. If you or a loved one suddenly requires urgent tests or treatments, it’s reassuring to know that quality and affordable health cover is there to make an anxious time less fraught with worry.
However, working out which health insurance policy is the best fit for your family can be confusing. There are a range of different providers, each with multiple products. And then there is the expense. Health insurance isn’t cheap: 48% of those in our 2021 survey think health insurance is becoming too expensive. And a quarter limit their policies to just surgery and specialist cover, to cut costs.
So as part of our mission to inform consumers of the best NZ has to offer, Canstar canvassed the opinions of 1029 New Zealanders with health insurance, across a range of categories, to measure and track their satisfaction.
To decide which health insurer offers the best level of customer satisfaction, each was rated across the following categories:
Coming out on top is AA Health Insurance. The high-profile brand is winner of Canstar’s 2021 award by a healthy margin. It’s the only insurance provider to earn our top 5-Star rating for Overall Satisfaction, an achievement backed by a near clean sweep of top marks across the board. In total, it has 5-Star ratings in six out of seven categories.
Three other insurers also rate highly with customers, earning 4-Star Overall Satisfaction ratings: Accuro Health Insurance, Southern Cross Healthcare and UniMed.
Of the six categories judged in this year’s ratings, there is not one standout: Communication and Comprehensiveness of Cover are slightly ahead of Cost, Customer Service and Ease of Claim. Value for Money is not far behind.
This reveals that each component of health insurance cover is rather like a jigsaw piece – together they need to fit together to form an overall picture of consumer satisfaction. A breakdown of the main drivers of satisfaction, and how they rate are:
|Drivers of satisfaction||%|
|Comprehensiveness of Cover||18%|
|Ease of Claim||16%|
|Value for Money||14%|
As you’d expect from a 5-Star winner, AA Health Insurance excels at Communication and Comprehensiveness of Cover. These are qualities reflected in AA Health Insurance’s clear and concise policies.
It offers three plans:
And by offering AA Member discounts on new policies, you can see why AA Health Insurance scores highly for Cost and Value for Money, too.
So if you value your family’s health, and are looking for a health insurer that offers great value, you need not look any further than AA Health Insurance, the winner of Canstar’s 2021 award for Most Satisfied Customers | Health Insurance.
No: claim 36%
3 per person
$192 per person
I like the peace of mind a health insurance policy provides: 50%
The government needs to tackle the affordability of dental work: 49%
I think health insurance is becoming too expensive: 48%
I’m happy with the claims process of my provider: 41%
GST on fresh, healthy food should be removed: 39%
I stay with my current provider due to pre-existing conditions: 27%
I can only afford a surgery and specialist policy; broader cover is too expensive: 26%
There should be a health tax on unhealthy foods, used to pay for healthcare: 26%
I’d sacrifice spending in other areas before I’d relinquish my health care policy: 24%
I worry about my weight and the impact it has on my health: 23%
I have health insurance for my children: 22%
I’ve reduced or changed my cover as premiums have risen: 18%
I’ve used my health insurance for serious illness: 15%
Canstar Blue surveyed 5000 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 customers who have a health insurance policy and are responsible for making payments. In this case, 1029 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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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 District Health Boards (DHBs), who then use this to purchase and provide public health services.
However, the government is currently in the process of making substantial changes to the way the health system is structured, and how it operates. This includes the disestablishment of the DHBs, and the creation of Health NZ and a Māori Health Authority, by July 2022.
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. 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.
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 six 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.
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.