Healthcare in New Zealand
Can I get free healthcare in New Zealand?
With the exception of visual and dental treatments, healthcare is generally quite affordable in New Zealand, compared to many other Western countries. It is easy to register to your local health centre and see a Doctor, or General Practitioner (GP). There are over 3,500 GPs in New Zealand. New Zealand residents and some work visa holders are entitled to public-funded healthcare, which means most treatments will be free or low cost. Private medical insurance is available and partially subsidised by some larger companies as part of their employee schemes, however it is not mandatory and most Kiwis actually rely on the public system.
Appointments with a GP range from around NZ$15 (registered patient, entitled to public-funded healthcare) to NZ$100 (overseas visitor or not registered to the centre). We recommend registering with your local medical centre as soon as you arrive in New Zealand. Visitors and students should have private medical (travel) insurance regardless. Medication is usually obtained from retail Pharmacists ('chemists') for both over-the-counter as well as prescription drugs.
What if I get injured while in New Zealand?
For injuries caused by an accident, treatment is free at public hospitals. If you need non-urgent medical help, the first point of contact is the local medical centre where a General Practitioner (Doctor/Physician) will see you.
Am I covered?
If you are a NZ citizen, resident-visa holder, or you have a work visa that allows you to stay in New Zealand for 2 years or more (including the time already spent), you (and anyone obtaining a visa through their relationship with you) are eligible for public-funded healthcare. Care for injuries resulting of accidents are covered by our unique 'Accident Compensation Corporation' scheme (ACC), regardless of your visa status. ACC provides insurance cover for everyone in New Zealand for injuries caused by accidents. This covers physical injuries, but some mental injuries may also be covered.