Getting publicly funded health services
If you’re eligible, you can get free or subsidised health, maternity and disability services in NZ.
COVID-19 — publicly funded health services
Diagnosis, testing and treatment for COVID-19 is free. It does not matter what your citizenship, visa status, nationality or medical insurance coverage is.
COVID-19 — Ministry of Health
What you can get
If you’re eligible for publicly funded healthcare, you may get:
- free inpatient and outpatient treatment at public hospitals
- free hospital care if you have an accident
- free maternity care
- free support services if you have a disability
- subsidies on prescriptions
- free fertility services.
Being eligible does not mean that you’re automatically entitled to receive a service — many services have their own criteria you’ll need to meet.
Who is eligible
You might be able to access free or subsidised health and disability services if you’re:
- a NZ citizen or permanent resident
- an Australian citizen or permanent resident who’s lived, or intends to live, in NZ for at least 2 years
- a work visa holder who’s eligible to be here for 2 years or more
- under 17 and your parent or guardian is eligible
- an interim visa holder who was eligible immediately before you got the interim visa
- a New Zealand Aid Programme student receiving Official Development Assistance funding
- a commonwealth scholarship student
- a refugee or protected person, or in the process of applying or appealing for refugee or protection status
- a victim of people trafficking.
If you’re pregnant but not eligible for publicly funded healthcare
If you’re pregnant and your partner is eligible for publicly funded health and disability services, you can get some maternity-related services in NZ — even if you’re not eligible for other services.
If you and your partner are not eligible, you have to pay for maternity care or use health insurance to help cover the cost.
If you’re from Australia and intend to stay in NZ for at least 2 years
If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident you can get the same publicly-funded medical treatments as New Zealanders.
If you’re from Australia and visiting NZ temporarily
If you’re visiting NZ:
- acute services are publicly funded
- you might have to prove you’re going back to Australia — for example, by showing your return ticket
- you can visit a GP but you have to pay.
An acute service is treatment the medical provider thinks you need immediately.
If you’re from the UK
If you’re a UK citizen, you:
- can get medical treatment for an acute condition that started after you got to NZ
- can get medical treatment for an acute condition that would get worse without treatment
- might have to prove you’re going back to the UK — for example, by showing your return ticket
- can visit a GP but you have to pay.
A condition is acute if the medical provider thinks it needs immediate attention.
If you’re injured visiting NZ
If you’re injured visiting NZ, the doctor can apply to get the cost of your treatment paid for by ACC. You still need travel insurance for some situations.
It’s a good idea to get travel insurance even if you’re from Australia or the UK.
If you’re not eligible
If you do not match any of the situations listed above, you:
- might be able to access some services for free
- can use any service but you’ll have to pay.
If you need to prove you’re eligible
If your healthcare provider needs proof that you’re eligible, you can download a list of the kinds of things you can show them.