Q: Having cysts removed from above my eyebrows cost me $800, which I paid the same time as the visit. I sent my account to Sovereign for a refund and was told that I couldn't claim because it wasn't for $1,200. Is that right? Also, I started off paying premiums of $72 a month - eight years later, I'm paying $205.28. I have just received a letter from them saying my monthly premium will be $224.98. - Myra
A: Your excess is too high, perhaps to reduce the monthly premium you have to pay. Sovereign says it is common for customers to opt for a higher excess to lower their regular bills. The excess applies once, so if you had a hip replacement for $30,000, you'd pay $1,200 and then would not have to pay for any other claims that year. But if this is your only claim this year, the $800 cost of the cyst removal is within that excess.
David Drillien, Sovereign's general manager of marketing and product, says: "All of these factors combined are proving to be a big challenge for all health insurers." Health insurance usually becomes more expensive over a person's life - just when you most need it, a lot of people find they can't afford it.
Have you been ripped off? Got a gripe with customer service or a query?
Write to Consumer Watchdog, PO Box 32, Auckland or send an email to Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.