New Zealand Health System

06 December 2016

New Zealand has a quality public healthcare system, funded directly by the Government, and available free or at low cost to all permanent residents and some work visa holders.

New Zealand Health System

New Zealand has a quality public healthcare system, funded directly by Government, and available free or at low cost to all permanent residents and some work visa holders. It’s also available to non-residents, but at a cost (along with the private system which runs in parallelt to the state system). If you’re not yet a permanent resident, we strongly recommend you get health insurance from your country.

Am I eligible for publicly funded healthcare?

All permanent residents are eligible for public healthcare. People with a work visa valid for a minimum of two years at the time of issue are also eligible. Eligibility also entitles your partner and any children under 20 years of age to public healthcare services.

Here’s a summary of the health services which are available to different types of resident.

Which health services are covered by New Zealand’s public health system?

New Zealand’s public health system includes:

  • Partly subsidised visits to general practitioners (GP), which usually cost adults about $50
  • Subsidised prescription medicines
  • Fully subisided, i.e. free childrens’ visist to the family GP for children under the age of 13 (they have to be registered with a participating GP. Nearly all GPs are registered for the free service, but it doesn’t hurt to ask)
  • Fully subsidised prescription medicine for children under 13
  • Free public hospital treatment, including 24-hour accident and emergency (A&E) clinics
  • Subsidised, private A&E clinics, which cost adults between about $40 – $80 to visit
  • Most laboratory tests and x-rays, unless made at a privately run clinic
  • Healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth, including hospital stays and pre- and post-natal care
  • Free specialist care when referred by a general practitioner (GP)
  • Free child immunisations
  • Free basic dental treatment for school children
  • Free breast screening for women aged 45 to 69

There’s more about the New Zealand health system here.

What if I have an accident?

If you have an accident the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) helps to cover most of the costs of treatment and rehabilitation.

ACC is available to anyone who’s been injured as the result of any accident (including car crashes), even if the injured person was also the person who caused it the accident.

If your injury affects your ability to work, ACC may provide some compensation based on your income. It can also assist with recovery-related costs such as training and transport, residential nursing care, home help and childcare.

What about private healthcare?

Some New Zealanders purchase private health insurance in order to receive care in private hospitals and to avoid waiting lists for the treatment of non-urgent medical conditions. Residents with private health insurance are still eligible for free public health benefits.

Is dental care covered by the public health system?

Not for people over 18 years old. It’s free to get  basic dental care for school children up to age 18 and all school children get free, routine dental checks. Emergency dental care is subsidised by the government for low-income residents.

Grown ups select their dentist of choice and get treated as a private patients. There are private insurance packages available that cover various levels of dental treatment.

What does dental care cost in New Zealand?

Prices for dental work range widely, depending on what needs doing, and who does it. But here’s a rough guide to what you might expect to pay:

  • Routine check-up, x-ray and cleaning: $90 – $110
  • Filling: $150 – $400
  • Tooth extraction: $150 – $300
  • Porcelain inlays: $800 – $1,100
  • Capping (per site): $1,100 – $1,500
  • Implants (per site): $5,500
  • Visit to a dental hygienist: $100 – $175

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