Travelling to New Zealand is exciting, fun and absolutely breath taking!
BUT, as part of your travel itinerary, please write in red: TRAVEL INSURANCE.
The New Zealand healthcare system has this concept called eligibility which gives a person a right to be considered for publicly funded health or disability services (ie free or subsidized). Having said that, note that eligibility is NOT an entitlement to receive any particular service. Individuals need to meet certain clinical and other assessment criteria to receive many services.
The Health and Disability Service Eligibility Direction 2011 sets out the eligibility criteria for publicly funded health and disability services in New Zealand. For foreign nationals, eligibility is largely based on immigration status. Checking the eligibility of patients is the responsibility of all health care providers who administer government-funded care. This also means that people can expect to be asked to provide their eligibility, especially if the provider is seeing them for the first time.
Guide to eligibility for publicly funded health service
The NZ Ministry of Health website provide an information about the eligibility criteria and what you need to prove your eligibility. It encourages consumers to check out the topic discussion which best match your situation:
- New Zealand permanent residents
- New Zealand citizens (including those from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau)
- Australian citizen or permanent resident who has lived, or intends to live, in New Zealand for two years or more
- Work visa holder eligible to be in New Zealand for two years or more
- People aged 17 years or younger, in the care and control of an eligible parent, legal guardian, adopting parent or person applying to be their legal guardian
- Interim visa holders
- New Zealand Aid Programme student receiving Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding
- Commonwealth scholarship students
- Foreign language teaching assistant
- Refugees and protected persons, applicants and appeallants for refugee and protection status, and victims of people trafficking offences
Furthermore, the NZ Ministry of Health website further discussed that if your situation does not match any of the situation listed above, you may still be eligible for for a limited range of service in certain situations, such as:
- Accidents and personal injuries
- Australian residents
- Compulsory health services
- Emergency services
- Foreign diplomats and their family
- Immunisations and Well Child
- Infectious diseases
- Maternity services
- Pregnant women infected with HIV
- UK citizens
For those who are not eligible “the government strongly recommends that people in New Zealand who are not eligible for publicly funded health services hold comprehensive travel insurance, including health insurance.”
And I just want to repeat that message one more time.
If you are in New Zealand and you are not eligible for publicly funded health services and you do not have existing travel insurance (health cover)- you will have to pay all expenses from your own pocket. And I am hoping that pocket is quite deep, because health care is not cheap.
So. to sum it all up: If you are in New Zealand but you are not eligible for publicly funded health services, then please consider a comprehensive travel insurance, including health insurance.
Finally, always -always check out the Ministry of Health website for any changes, updates and further information about eligibility and publicly funded health services!