The Health Funds Association says more people are taking out health insurance, despite the deteriorating economic conditions.
An extra 5,500 lives were covered in the September quarter - an increase of 0.4%. The total number of New Zealanders with coverage is now almost 1.4 million.
Executive director Roger Styles says a reasonably flat quarter was expected, following a slowdown in the June quarter and the economy going into recession - so the increase came as a surprise.
Figures for the year ending September show overall 13,500 more people took out health insurance policies.
Significant gains were in the 60-64 age bracket, where the number of new policies grew by 6.6%.