Healthcare in New Zealand for non-residents
For ex-pats, it’s not so easy to register for the public system, as you’ll usually need a residency permit (you’re only eligible for this after living there for at least two years). Even residents have to go through a relatively strict health assessment and can be refused access altogether due to their current health or certain pre-existing conditions. You can find out more about the criteria here. Despite the tight controls on who receives subsidized care, you can still use the public health services – you’ll just need to cover the cost, either by yourself or with insurance. There are exceptions to this rule, if you’re from either the UK or Australia, as New Zealand shares Reciprocal Health Agreements with these countries. This means you could receive certain publicly-funded treatments or services, up to the same level as a New Zealand national.
Cost of public healthcare for non-residents
If you need to use the public health system, but you’re not eligible for subsidized care, you might wonder how much you’d need to pay. Like in many other countries, visiting your main doctor is the first thing to do when you’ve got a medical problem. This can cost around NZ$50, but as doctors’ surgeries are private businesses, the price can vary depending on where you go. A bit further up the scale is the cost of ambulance transport, in a medical emergency. Eligible residents will pay NZ$98 as a part-charge for St John ambulance transport. There’s a significant increase to NZ$800 for those who are not eligible for publicly funded services². This is a lot of money to pay before you’ve even received your hospital bill.