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Hospital treatment is free of charge for New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and holders of certain work visas. As a result of this, there can be long waiting-lists for “non-emergency” cases. No-one can be refused emergency care in New Zealand because they can’t pay. However if you are not entitled to public funded care you may be sent a bill for some services. Many employed people pay for private medical insurance to avoid waiting for “non-emergency” treatment.
If you are a UK Citizen: NZ Health System - UK
For citizens from other countries: NZ Health System - Other Countries
If you are arriving on a work visa which is less than 2 years, in most cases you will not be eligible to take out private health care and we do suggest obtaining travel insurance before you arrive.
Accident Compensation (ACC) – No Lawsuits Allowed
If you’re injured in New Zealand, regardless of cause or blame, the ACC scheme entitles you to:
Free medical care.
Payment of a proportion of your salary, while you recover (normally 80% of your gross wages).
Payment of compensation, if appropriate.
The ACC scheme replaces the right to sue for damages. In New Zealand you cannot sue someone for causing you injury.
Cervical Screening Programme
Cervical screening is provided free of charge to all women aged 20-69 years. The usual screening interval is every three years. The Ministry of Health estimates that, in women who are not screened, one in ninety will develop cervical cancer and around half of these women will die of the disease. In women who are screened, the death rate is much lower, at around one woman in 1,280 dying of cervical cancer. Overall, women who have regular smear tests reduce their likelihood of developing cervical cancer by about 90 percent. About 200 New Zealand women develop cervical cancer every year and about 60 – 70 women die from it.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
All maternity services from pregnancy through to childbirth in New Zealand are free of charge for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents or their spouses or partners. Fees are payable for care at private hospitals and treatment by private obstetricians. It is your choice where you have your baby and who cares for you during pregnancy and birth. Most women choose to have a midwife as their Lead Maternity carer. Typically a midwife can offer or arrange pregnancy testing, care and assessments throughout pregnancy, blood tests or investigative procedures, consultation with an obstetrician or other specialist, support and care during labour and birth in the place of your choice – whether it be in a hospital or at home or a location such as a birth pool – and support and care after your baby is born.
Babies born in New Zealand will only be eligible for New Zealand citizenship if at least one of their parents is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
Dental Treatment – Typical Costs
Schoolchildren up to the age of 18 get free basic dental treatment. Not all treatments for children are free though; you have to pay for more specialised procedures and orthodontics (tooth straightening). Adults have to pay for the full cost of all treatment, typically:
Hygienist: $70 - $96
Check up with Scale/Polish: $75 - $110
Check up with x-ray: $95 - $150
Amalgam filling (molar):$100 - $145+
Composite filling (molar): $140 - $180
If your teeth are damaged in an accident, rather than through normal wear and tear, your treatment will be heavily subsidised by the government's accident compensation scheme.
Doctors/GP’s – Typical Costs
All GP’s in New Zealand are private practitioners. In practice, because of government subsidy, children under 6 are treated free. Some GP’s may charge you $5 or $10 if your child needs a home visit or out-of-hours treatment. Older children are subsidised less than under 6′s. This means you will pay about $20 for an older child’s visit to the Doctor. If you ask around, you may be able to find a GP who will treat all ages of children free of charge.
For adults, a visit to your GP costs $45 – $65 or so between around 8:00am – 6:00pm. Visits at weekends or nights cost more. If, however, you join a PHO (Primary Health Organisation – these are government funded and free to join) a visit to your GP will cost approximately $35 – $40. Nearly all New Zealanders have now joined PHOs. It can sometimes take about three months after submitting an application to a PHO to receive lower priced care. It’s advisable therefore to join a medical practice and enrol with a PHO sooner rather than later. You are able to change your GP at any time.
Prescription Drugs – Cost
When a GP prescribes medicine, children under 6 pay nothing. If your GP prescribes drugs for you, you will pay $3 per item provided you have joined a Primary Health Organisation. (Joining a PHO is free.) Otherwise, you will pay more. For some medicines you will also pay an extra part-charge. Some drugs are not subsidised at all, and must be fully paid for. People who need 20 or more prescriptions in a year are eligible for a further prescription subsidy.
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