Health Insurance

How much do common surgeries cost?

Have you ever wondered about the real cost of healthcare in New Zealand? It may come as a surprise, but even small medical procedures can add up to thousands of dollars. 

To give you an idea of the typical costs of some common procedures, here’s a quick overview: 

Procedure type 

Typical cost 

Skin cancer removal 


Breast cancer surgery 


Endometriosis surgery 


Varicose veins 


Heart valve replacement surgery 


Hip replacement 


Knee replacement 


Prostate cancer surgery 


Colonoscopy (with or without associated procedure) 


Tonsil removal 


Squint correction 


Grommet surgery 


Source: Southern Cross claims data 2021/2022 

How health insurance can help 

Rather than waiting in the public healthcare system, health insurance allows you to be treated as a private patient – without having to pay for the full cost of the procedure out of your pocket.  

Benefits and allowances vary from provider to provider, and from policy to policy. But the numbers above give you some pretty interesting ballpark figures to consider.  

A good health insurance plan will cover 100% of your major medical expenses, minus the excess you select (the part of the hospital bill that you pay). You can usually choose extra ‘specialists and tests’ or ‘dental’ add-on if you need or want those covered. Plus, some policies offer cover for non-Pharmac funded treatments, including certain Medsafe-approved life-extending cancer treatments.  

Simply put, health insurance is all about having more options when it comes to healthcare: click here to learn more.  

What Kiwis are claiming on their health cover 

You may like to know what the most claimed-upon procedures in New Zealand are. Again, here are Southern Cross’s top five claims in the month of October 2022. Other insurers may have different figures, but this table gives you an indication. 

Procedure type 

Number of claims paid 

Total amount paid 

Total knee replacement 


$4.8 million 



$4.8 million 

Total hip replacement 


$4.3 million 

Spinal fusion 


$3.7 million 

Excision skin lesion 


$2.9 million 

Source: Southern Cross, Top Claims data for October 2022 

And here’s a breakdown by procedure specialty: 

Procedure specialty 

Number of claims paid 

Total amount paid 



$19.9 million 

Imaging and tests 


$13.3 million 

General surgery 


$9.6 million 

Specialist consultations 


$9.4 million 



$7.8 million 

Source: Southern Cross, Top Claims data for October 2022 

Looking for health insurance? 

You can use our quote compare tool to get health insurance quotes in minutes from some of New Zealand’s top insurers.  

And if you’d like to us to help you find the most appropriate cover for your needs, give our friendly insurance advisers a call on?0800 800 400, start a Live Chat or?fill in our contact form?to contact us.  


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance. 

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