High Use Health Card
Who can get it
If you visit your doctor more than 12 times a year, ask about getting a High Use Health Card (HUHC). This may reduce the cost of your future visits and some prescriptions.
You can get a HUHC:
- if you visit your doctor more than 12 times a year
- your visits relate to an illness or ongoing health problems that weren’t caused by an injury
- you’re eligible for publicly-funded healthcare.
You can’t apply for a HUHC if your health problems are the result of an injury and you’re getting treatment through the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
If you already have a Community Services Card, you don’t need to apply for a HUHC. You already get the same discounts that you’d get if you had a HUHC.
What you get
The HUHC may reduce the cost of:
- full-priced prescriptions
- visits to:
- an after-hours doctor
- a doctor who isn’t your usual doctor.
How you apply
Your doctor keeps a record of your visits and makes an application to the Ministry of Health for you.
Your doctor will ask you to sign the application form on your 12th visit. Your doctor also gives the Ministry of Health information about your health problems if they ask for it.
How long it takes
It takes 3 to 5 days the Ministry of Health to approve your application. If your application is approved, then the Ministry of Health sends you your HUHC and lets your doctor know.
The number on your HUHC is unique. You need to know it if you lose your card.
Paying for doctor’s visits before your HUHC is approved
If you have to go to the doctor while you’re waiting for your card to be approved, you can claim some of the cost back from Work and Income. If you’re due a refund, it’s paid into your bank account.
Provide Work and Income with a photocopy of:
- your HUHC (when it arrives)
- receipts and details of what you paid for
- a deposit slip for your bank account
- personal ID, eg driver licence or passport.
You also need to complete a Reimbursement of Health Overcharges application form. You can get one by:
- calling Work and Income — freephone 0800 999 999
- going to a Work and Income service centre
- getting it from your pharmacist or doctor.
Using your HUHC
Renewing your HUHC
A HUHC lasts for 1 year.
The Ministry of Health sends a reminder to your doctor before it expires. If you still need a HUHC, your doctor applies again for you in the month before it expires.
Your new HUHC lasts for a year from the latest of these 2 dates:
- the day after your old card expires
- the date when you and your doctor signed the application form.
Change of address
If you move, let your doctor know. They’ll write to the Ministry of Health to get your details changed. They’ll need both your old and new addresses.
If your HUHC is lost or stolen
Contact the Ministry of Health on freephone 0800 243 666 as soon as possible. Tell them your:
- name and address
- date of birth
- HUHC number.
If you don’t know your HUHC number, ask your doctor.
The Ministry of Health issues a new HUHC with the same expiry date as your original card.
Going to another doctor
If you need to go to a doctor other than your usual one, eg if you’re on holiday, you may be able to use your HUHC to pay less for your visit. Check with the doctor or the receptionist at the practice first.
When you no longer need your HUHC
Your doctor lets the Ministry of Heath know if you no longer need a HUHC.