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New Zealand

Healthcare in New Zealand and Health Visa Requirements

New Zealand Immigration Health Requirements
The New Zealand government obviously needs to safeguard the health of its citizens and avoid putting a burden on the health system in the country. There are, therefore, certain health requirements that need to be met before a visa of any type can be granted.

Every member of your family must have a full medical and a chest X-ray not more than three months before you lodge your visa application. In some countries, there is a special panel of doctors who have been specifically chosen to perform these medicals. This list can be found at https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas. Even if you are already in New Zealand, the costs of these medicals and X-rays are for your account.

State Healthcare
New Zealand provides free or subsidised healthcare to its citizens, permanent residents and visitors from certain countries. The system is similar to that of France and Germany where the majority of a certain medical cost is free but patients are expected to make a small contribution. This is different to the UK, where the National Health Service provides totally free medical care. On the other side of the coin, it’s far superior to the US, where you pay for every pill, stitch and plaster.

If you come from a country which has a reciprocal agreement with New Zealand, such as the UK and Australia, you are automatically covered whether you are a visitor or an immigrant.

Healthcare Entitlements
As a general rule in-hospital treatment is fully covered and the cost of out patient treatment and non-medical treatment, such as prescriptions and GP visits are not covered. However, the cost to patients is small as these costs are heavily subsidised.

Free healthcare includes: –
• Hospital treatment, including 24 hour A & E and clinics. Cosmetic surgery is not covered.
• Children’s immunisation schedules
• Prescriptions for children under six and those with a subscription subsidy card, a high use health card or a Community Services Card
• Prescription medication for public hospital patients
• Laboratory tests and X-rays in a public hospital
• Healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth
• GP referrals to a public hospital for treatment
• Check-ups and basic dental treatment for children
• Breast screening for women aged 50 to 64
• Acute or chronic medical conditions

Subsidised Healthcare includes: –
• GP visits
• Prescriptions
• GP referrals to physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths
• Ambulance services in some areas

Private Healthcare
Nearly half of people within New Zealand choose to be covered by private health insurance. This will cover things that the government healthcare system does not, such as GP visits and prescriptions. Private healthcare is also used for specialist appointments, hospital treatment, second opinions, health checks and screening and complimentary medicine.

There are many companies out there that offer private health insurance. Have a look at https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/health-insurance-choices to get a better idea of what’s out there and whether you and your family need it.

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