Insuring your child's development

Friday , 12 June 2015 by Aimee Bourke

Claims information from New Zealand’s largest health insurer, Southern Cross Health Society, show the nation’s children are high users of health insurance, with procedures that affect sleep, speech and hearing among the most common procedures for children.

Peter Tynan, Southern Cross Health Society CEO, says clearly a lot of parents recognise the value of having health insurance from an early age, with 36.3% of members with children on their policy insuring their kids within the first three months of their lives.

“We certainly do, this is why if a child is added to their parents’ policy in the first three months qualifying pre-existing conditions are covered.”

Tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies and grommet insertion were three of the most common surgical procedures for children under four.Tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies were also in the top five surgeries for children between 5 - 20.

In 2014 Southern Cross paid out over $7m for these three surgeries alone.

“The formative years for children are very important and having a good night’s sleep, as well as being able to breathe, speak and hear well are all crucial tools for their development.”

Although GP visits are subsidised for children under six, sometimes common childhood illnesses can require specialist intervention. The reality is that this may mean waiting on public lists for appointments, diagnostics and treatments – or in some regions not meeting the threshold at all to be seen in the public system.

“Southern Cross has 191,902 members between 0 – 20 with our policies and advise that the best time to get insurance is when your children are still young and healthy. They’re not only much less likely to have pre-existing conditions but it means ensuring timely treatment at an age when some common problems have been known to cause other health or developmental issues.”

Those who already have a policy with Southern Cross can receive a child’s rate for their first two children, with third and subsequent children covered for free until age 21.



  • Last year 24,196 surgeries were performed for children between 0 – 4 insured with Southern Cross.
  • There are 191,902 Southern Cross Health Society members aged between 0 – 20.

Top Procedures by Age and Gender

Top Procedures by Paid Total from Jan 2014 to Dec 2014

Top 5 Procedures 0 - 4 Age Band
Boys Girls
Procedure Paid Total Procedure Paid Total
Tonsillectomy $1,346,063 Tonsillectomy $847,711
Adenoidectomy $623,269 Adenoidectomy $366,625
Simple Bilateral Ear Procedure $376,359 Grommet Insertion $244,139
Grommet Insertion $301,385 Simple Bilateral Ear Procedure $235,520
Circumcision $133,657 Strabismus surgery $103,127


Top 5 Procedures 5 - 20 Age Band
Boys Girls
Procedure Paid Total Procedure Paid Total
Removal of Teeth $1,878,482 Removal of Teeth $2,803,350
Tonsillectomy $1,153,567 Tonsillectomy $1,683,239
Adenoidectomy $450,708 Endometriosis Surgery $1,064,689
Circumcision $446,402 MRI Scan $410,542
Excision Skin Lesion $321,260 Freeing of Abdominal Adhesions $348,386