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Southern Cross Health Insurance. Putting your health first

More than 870,000 Kiwis trust Southern Cross Health Insurance. Join now, and receive faster access to diagnosis, treatment, and better medical facilities.

15 min to read

Southern Cross Health Insurance sits at the heart of a wide range of not-for-profit healthcare organisations that promise to have all your health and wellness needs covered. 

Southern Cross operates New Zealand’s largest network of private hospitals and independent healthcare providers, combining these services with highly comprehensive insurance products. To date, Southern Cross is very well-placed in the insurance market - as testified by the many Kiwis who voted the company *‘New Zealand’s most trusted health insurance provider 2017-2022’.


Learn more about different types of insurance from a licenced financial adviser and see what's best for your circumstances.

Health | Life | Trauma | Total and Permanent Disability | Income Protection

Who is Policywise, and how do we work with Southern Cross Health Insurance?

Policywise is a 100% free service which tells you which health, life, and disability insurance provider best fits your needs. We provide quotes and a comprehensive comparison of all leading providers - such as Southern Cross - as well as a simple, one-page summary clearly stating how our findings dovetail impeccably with your situation.

In this Southern Cross private health insurance review, we’ll look at plans exclusively offered through Policywise. 

Southern Cross Health Insurance - a brief company overview

Southern Cross Health Society began in 1961 with the goal of providing affordable private healthcare for New Zealanders. Since then, Southern Cross has witnessed rapid and constant growth, gaining the trust of nearly 900,000 members in New Zealand today. Last year, Southern Cross paid out on three million health insurance claims. 

Key facts about Southern Cross

Founded: 1961 in New Zealand
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Premium revenue: $1.26 billion
Accumulated claims paid: $1.099 billion
Solvency margin: $412 million
Solvency ratio: 3.88 (31 December 2021)
Financial strength rating:  A+ (Strong) S&P Global Ratings Australia Pty Ltd


Southern Cross health insurance plans

UltraCare/400, Southern Cross Wellbeing One and Wellbeing Two are three popular private health insurance choices for many clients. This is why:

UltraCare BasE

If you’re looking for premium surgical, healthcare, and everyday health insurance that gives the highest level of cover, then Southern Cross UltraCare is the option for you. 

Benefit highlights include:

  • Unlimited surgical costs & no excess payable (includes skin surgery under general anaesthetic)
  • Diagnostic testing up to $100,000 per year
  • $60,000 per year for Pharmac approved chemotherapy drugs (includes $10,000 for non-Pharmac approved drugs)
  • Unlimited radiotherapy costs
  • Consultations up to $10,000 per year
  • Psychiatrist consultations up to $750 per year
  • Overseas treatment up to $30,000 per year

UltraCare also covers a large range of everyday medical costs as standard including:

  • GP, nurse, physiotherapy, chiropractor or osteopath, audiologist, podiatrist, optometrist, dietician, and psychologist visits
  • Prescription charges, laboratory tests, annual health checks, and flu vaccinations
  • Palliative care, breast reduction, gastric banding/bypass, and prophylactic treatment allowances (after three years’ continuous cover).

Southern Cross UltraCare will even cover many pre-existing conditions after three years’ cover. 

You should check the policy wording for detailed exclusions and terms and conditions.

UltraCare 400

You can charge up your UltraCare plan with the UltraCare 400 upgrade. UltraCare 400 gives you $500 for prescription glasses/contact lenses and $750 for dental treatment per claims year.

Wellbeing One and Wellbeing Two

Southern Cross Wellbeing One provides broad surgical and healthcare coverage for its members. 

Southern Cross Wellbeing two is a comprehensive surgical and cancer cover that also covers specialist consultations for conditions that don’t require surgery, and without any time restriction. 

Wellbeing one & two highlights:


Wellbeing 1

Wellbeing 2

Surgical treatment

unlimited but excess applies

unlimited but excess applies

Cancer chemotherapy

up to $60,000 per year ($10,000 for non-Pharmac funded drugs)

up to $60,000 per year ($10,000 for non-Pharmac funded drugs)


unlimited but excess applies

unlimited but excess applies

Specialist consultations

$5,000 per claims year for consults (some conditions have a 6 month limitation)

$5,000 per claims year for consults (does not have any 6 month limitation)

Diagnostic imaging & tests

up to $60,000 per claims year, with an affiliated provider

up to $60,000 per claims year, with an affiliated provider

Overseas treatment

up to $30,000 per year

up to $30,000 per year

Post-operative nursing

home nursing up to $175 per day

home nursing up to $175 per day

Obstetrics allowance


$750 per claims year (after 1 year)

Choosing a higher excess ($500, $1,000, $2,000, or $4,000) means you can reduce your premiums.

You can tailor your Wellbeing one or Wellbeing two covers with these optional modules: 

Keeping Well

This package covers GP, nurse, optometrist, audiologist, dentist, and psychologist consultations, as well as hearing tests and prescriptions. This module cannot be taken with either the Day-to-Day or Keeping Well modules.

Body Care

The Body Care module provides coverage for consultations with nutritionists, acupuncturists, dietitians, chiropractors, osteopaths, homoeopaths, naturopaths, and massage therapists. 


Covers consultations with a GP, nurse, or physiotherapist, as well as prescriptions. You can also claim an annual health check and a flu vaccination. You cannot have the Day-to-Day and Keeping Well modules at the same time.

Vision and Dental

Covers consultations with an optometrist, orthoptist, dentist, or audiologist. Treatment costs and prescribed contact lenses and glasses are also covered (up to 75%). It cannot be held with the Keeping Well module.

Boost your cover with these add-ons 

Add-ons allow you to customise your UltraCare, UltraCare 400, Wellbeing One and Wellbeing Two cover even further, and can give you more options in the event of a claim.

Cancer Cover Plus add-on

Boost your base chemotherapy for cancer benefit with a Cancer Cover Plus add-on. Your choice of Chemotherapy 100 or Chemotherapy 300 increases your cover for both Pharmac-funded and non-Pharmac-funded drugs up to $100,000 per year or $300,000 per year.

Cancer Assist

With a range of cover options available, from $20,000 up to $300,000, Cancer Assist offers affordable peace of mind in the event of a qualifying cancer diagnosis. Cancer Assist provides a one-off, tax-free lump sum payment as a top-up to your regular health insurance - you can spend the payment on whatever’s most important to you.

There is a three-month stand-down period at the commencement of the policy. You can learn more about the terms and conditions in the policy document.

Critical Illness

This gives you a lump sum cash payment if you suffer a sudden, critical illness, or an acute event such as a heart attack, stroke, qualifying cancer, or loss of independent living. You can use the Critical Illness tax-free payment to spend on whatever you or your family need the most.

Choose from a range of cover options from $20,000 up to $300,000. There is a three-month stand-down period at the commencement of the policy. You can learn more about the terms and conditions in the policy document.


You and Southern Cross will share the cost of medical services that you receive in the event of a qualifying medical condition.


You and Southern Cross share some of the costs of cancer care, consultations with a specialist, surgical treatment, diagnostic tests and imaging, as well as some support for recovery.


HealthEssentials offers health coverage on a per-day payment basis. Starting at $1 per day, members are eligible for up to $1,250 of insurance cover each year.

Caring for your employees and your business

Offering your employees a decent health care plan is a great way to show you really value them.

Employee health insurance:

  • Encourages productivity
  • Improves the wellbeing of your team
  • Means fewer days off for severe illness.

And your employees will be more focused on the job because they’re not worrying about waiting for medical treatment, taking time off work, or mounting medical bills. Employee health insurance is a great addition to your business toolbox. In fact, Seek calls it the No.1 Perk that will make a job candidate choose you over your competitor.

And that’s why Southern Cross medical insurance provides comprehensive workplace health cover for businesses throughout New Zealand. 

Other Southern Cross cover options

Southern Cross does offer a number of additional health insurance options but these are much more limited in scope. If you really are on a tight budget and would like to talk about one of these options then chat with a friendly Policywise expert.

Southern Cross is proud of a few special features

Southern Cross has worked hard to become one of New Zealand’s most popular health insurance providers, and they’re especially proud of:

  • Covering unlimited surgical costs (UltraCare and Wellbeing policies)
  • Being voted one of Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands: 2017-2022
  • Including cover for non-Pharmac drugs as standard across UltraCare and Wellbeing policies.

Free online health checks

Southern Cross members can take advantage of unlimited free online consultations with a Care HQ doctor. Once registered, you can book these through the My Southern Cross app. You can also book up to three free Raise Mental Wellbeing sessions for individual or couple counselling.

Keeping tabs on your healthcare

The My Southern Cross app allows you to manage your health insurance, check balances, check your cover, make claims using our online claim form, and access free online consultations with a GP.

Things to note about Southern Cross policies

  • You have a 14-day ‘free look’ period; we’ll refund your premiums if you’re unsatisfied.
  • Pre-existing conditions may not be covered, depending on your policy type.
  • Some benefits, e.g., surgical procedures, must be performed by an affiliated provider.
  • Some policies allow you to reduce your premiums by increasing the excess.
  • Cover starts immediately, although some loyalty covers have a stand-down period.

The above is just a brief summary. Additional terms and conditions may apply.

You can wade through all the fine print in Southern Cross’ policy documents here, or simply check in with one of the experts at Policywise, and we’ll help you choose the right product for your situation.

Do you need health insurance in New Zealand?

Wait times for essential and elective surgery are increasing each year. These delays can lead to much poorer health outcomes as well as increased stress and frustration. Health insurance can also pay for expensive treatments that are not publicly funded in New Zealand.

How much can you expect to pay privately for some common treatments in New Zealand?

Common surgeries

Private treatment costs (if you don’t have health insurance)

Single valve heart operation

Up to $80,000

Total hip replacement

Up to $30,000

Spinal fusion

Up to $60,000


$4,500 each


Up to $30,000

Heart bypass

Up to $70,000

Good health is priceless. Southern Cross private health insurance can help you:

  • Avoid lengthy wait times for major surgery.
  • Access expensive, non-Pharmac-funded drugs.
  • Receive better aftercare support and rehabilitation.
  • Reduce stress and uncertainty in times of illness.
  • Get back on your feet faster so you can keep doing the things you love.

Why choose Policywise?

Not all health insurance policies are the same. Policywise can help you sort out the duds, avoid the lemons, understand the fine print and exclusions, and get the best insurance for you and your family.

We’ll answer all your questions, provide fast, easy-to-understand policy comparisons and quotes, and take care of the sign-up process. We can also take care of lodging any claims on your behalf.

Now is the time to think about investing in private health insurance cover that will give you or someone you love the most outstanding support and treatment possible in the event of illness. How about having a 5-minute phone conversation with us? Together, we can find the ultimate path towards securing your financial and physicalhealth.              

Quickly find the cover that’s best for you

Policywise tells you which health, life or disability insurance best matches your circumstances, 100% free. Talk to one of our insurance advisers to find out which health or life insurance is best for you.


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Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. Nothing in this blog or on this website is intended as medical, dietary or financial advice. You are advised to consult a financial adviser, health professional, or an appropriate specialist before acting on any information here in. They can factor in your personal circumstances or preferences and help guide your decision-making process.

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