Managing the cost of your health insurance

While it's great news that sophisticated medical treatments mean we're generally living longer and healthier lives, the impact of this on the cost of health insurance can quickly add up - particularly as we grow older. If your health insurance premiums are increasing, here's how you might manage your costs and maintain the level of cover that suits you.


The cost of good health

Good health comes at a cost - a fact reflected by the jump in New Zealand's private medical claims paid which rose to $1.379 billion for the 12 months ending 31 December 2019, up 5.8 percent on the previous year's claims*.
As we grow older, more complex treatments can be required more often and treatment costs can quickly add up. That's why it's common for health insurance premiums to increase over the life of your policy.

*Health Funds Association of New Zealand, Quarterly statistical summary: December 2019.

Typical treatment costs


  1. Adenotonsillectomy
    $4,500 - $7,000
  2. Grommets
    $2,500 - $3,500
  3. Strabismus (squint surgery)
    $5,800 - $7,400
  4. Gastroscopy
    $1,400 - $2,700
  5. Hernia repair
    $4,900 - $7,100

Adult (20 - 60 years old)

  1. Sinus surgery
    $9,000 - $33,500
  2. Cardiac ablation
    $21,700 - $45,500
  3. Mastectomy (unilateral)
    $17,000 - $30,000
  4. Gall bladder removal
    $8,800 - $18,900
  5. Endometriosis surgery
    $15,000 - $35,000
  6. Hernia repair
    $8,500 - $20,000

Senior (60+ years old)

  1. Cataract surgery (one eye)
    $3,300 - $5,600
  2. Coronary angioplasty
    $17,200 - $37,300
  3. Valve replacement
    $60,000 - $85,000
  4. Colonoscopy
    $1,800 - $5,500
  5. Hip replacement
    $25,000 - $40,000
  6. Robotic prostatectomy
    $32,000 - $35,000

Source: AIA Health Claims Data, 1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020


Controlling your health insurance costs

A way to reduce the premium you pay, while maintaining the same level of private health cover, is to increase the excess on your policy. The excess is the amount you would contribute for treatment, with your insurer paying the outstanding balance.

For example, if you were covered for a $29,000 hip replacement operation and you had a $500 excess, you’d pay $500 and the insurer would pay the remaining $28,500.

The higher the excess you choose, the lower the premium you’ll pay. The example below shows how increasing the excess on your policy can reduce your premiums.

The table below illustrates the approximate discount you could receive with each available excess option for ASB Private Health and Private Health Plus. Please note that these rates may change over the duration of your policy.

ASB Private Health

Excess option

If you would like information on the excess structure applicable to your particular health insurance policy, then call us on 0800 272 543.

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Other helpful guides

The availability of insurance cover is subject to your application being approved. All applications are subject to individual consideration. Special conditions, exclusions or premium loadings may apply. An excess may apply for health insurance policies. For full details refer to the Policy Document which is available on request from any ASB branch. ASB life, health and disability insurance is underwritten by AIA New Zealand Limited ("AIA").

Health insurance Managing the cost of your health insurance