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Note:

For information about COVID-19, visit the Unite against COVID-19 website.

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.

Publicly funded health and disability services

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant

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.

Pregnant wife or partner of an eligible person

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.

Reciprocal health agreements

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.

Reciprocal health agreements

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.

If you’re injured visiting NZ

Eligibility for publicly funded health services

Travel insurance

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.

Eligibility for a limited range of publicly funded health services

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.

Eligibility checklist

Utility links and page information

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