Health Insurance in New Zealand

Before travelling to New Zealand, have you thought about taking out international health insurance? Mondassur allows you to cover all your risks (emergencies, illness, repatriation…) by choosing a personalised international health insurance policy adapted to all your needs.

The New Zealand health system

New Zealand’s health care system consists of a public and a private health sector. As an expatriate, you will have to meet a number of criteria if you want to join the social security system.
This health system is very similar to the NHS in the UK, which means that New Zealand citizens receive a range of health services free of charge. For expatriates, the conditions vary depending on the type of visa you have. Whenever you visit a doctor, you will need to enclose a copy of your visa so that they can determine your status.

Who is eligible for public health care in New Zealand?

The following are the different expatriate statuses that are eligible for the New Zealand healthcare system:

  • Expatriates with British nationality will be able to join the social security system very easily;
  • Australian citizens and expatriates with permanent resident status who have been in Australia for at least 2 years or who plan to stay for at least 2 consecutive years;
  • Expatriates with a valid work visa for a period of 2 years or more.
  • A minor expatriate living under the guardianship of a parent or eligible guardian;
  • Any expatriate on a provisional visa;
  • Any New Zealand Aid student receiving Official Development Assistance funding;
  • Any foreign language teaching assistant;
  • Be a refugee or protected person, a person who has applied for protected status or a victim of human trafficking.

If you are coming to New Zealand on a student visa, or for a WHP or for a stay of less than 2 years, you will not be entitled to New Zealand social security. This means that you will have to pay the full price of the health care you receive, whether it is public or private.

The private health care system in New Zealand

The government does not fund private health services, such as private hospitals or clinics. You will have to pay for these services.
A number of companies offer private health insurance policies that cover the costs of the private system. You can decide the level of cover you want and the types of services you want to be covered. Note that to qualify for most private health insurance schemes in New Zealand, you must be entitled to New Zealand social security. In other words, if you do not have permanent resident status, you will not be eligible for any New Zealand insurance.
The private health system allows you to control when and where you are treated for your health problems. You can also choose the doctor, specialist or hospital of your choice.

Choosing your GP in New Zealand

If you have funded Public Health status, you can register with a GP. However, this is a private service, so GPs can charge whatever they want. It is advisable to find out about GPs in your area and the fees they charge before making your choice. By joining a DPO (Primary Care Organisation) you will benefit from the lower costs of a consultation. If you go to a doctor who is not affiliated, he or she is likely to charge you a higher price for the consultation.
That’s all, then you can make an appointment with your GP whenever you need to.
The cost of a doctor’s visit varies according to your situation and also according to the professional you choose. For a person on social security, the average cost of a consultation is 65 New Zealand dollars or about 40 euros in OPH. Note that the cost of the first consultation with your GP is higher than the previous ones.
The cost of any medication prescribed by your doctor is usually less than NZD 15 (free for children under 13).

Seeing a specialist doctor in New Zealand

Your GP may refer you to a specialist doctor in a surgery or hospital for further assessment or diagnosis. Specialist care is free in the public health system, but you will almost certainly have to join a waiting list. This means that seeing a specialist doctor can take time, even months. In addition, you cannot choose the specialist you see – he or she will be assigned to you.
If you want to get a specialist’s opinion quickly, you can go to a hospital or a private specialist. You will have to pay a fee unless you have private health insurance. The cost of a consultation with a private specialist is much higher than with a general practitioner.

How do I see a dentist in New Zealand?

If you are registered with New Zealand Social Security, you will be assigned a dentist who you will see each time you make an appointment. Dental treatment is not covered by social security unless it is for a child under the age of 18.
Standard treatments (are free for children and) include

  • a routine examination to check for cavities in the teeth and to examine the gums and mouth for any problems
  • X-rays to detect cavities and other problems not visible to the naked eye
  • fluoride treatment, which helps make the surface of the teeth more resistant to decay
  • cleaning of plaque, stains and tartar from the teeth
  • fillings to restore teeth affected by tooth decay
  • extractions to remove teeth severely affected by tooth decay.

According to a survey conducted by the New Zealand Dental Association, the average cost of a visit to a dentist is $75 NZD. The average goes up to $100 NZD if during the examination you have an X-ray. In addition, there is also a variation in the cost of a consultation due to the city in which you consult a dentist.
For a filling, the average cost is $220 NZD, for a composite or grey metal filling, the price will be higher.
Finally, if you go to the dentist for more extensive treatment, such as a bridge, implant or denture, it will cost you an average of $3500 NZD, $3000 NZD, $2800 NZD respectively.

The emergency service in New Zealand

If you need to call an ambulance or have a medical emergency, dial 111. You will be connected to an English-speaking person who will determine how you will be dealt with.
Most of the time it will be a road ambulance but in some circumstances it may be an air ambulance. New Zealand ambulances are equipped with cardiopulmonary resuscitators and defibrillators.
Depending on the severity of your situation, you will either be taken to the nearest hospital emergency department or the ambulance driver will perform first aid on site.

Hospitals in New Zealand

New Zealand has approximately 220 public and private hospitals in the country. The major regional public hospitals are

  • Whangarei Hospital
  • North Shore Hospital
  • Waitakere Hospital
  • Auckland City Hospital

Over 1.3 million New Zealanders have health insurance that covers them for private care. Medical and surgical operations performed in private hospitals are mainly funded by medical insurers. The only national network of private hospitals in New Zealand is the Southern Cross Healthcare Group.

Other reputable private hospitals in New Zealand outside the network:

  • MercyAScot (Auckland)
  • Ormiston Hospital (Botany)
  • Wakefield Hospital (Wellington)
  • Royston Hospital (Hastings)
  • Bowen Hospital (Wellington)
  • Braemar Hospital (Hamilton)
  • St George’s Hospital (Christchurch)

You can also receive care in PHOs (Primary Health Organisations). These are not-for-profit primary health organisations, based in communities to provide access to primary care without going to hospital. There are about 30 PHOs in New Zealand. PHOs are made up of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in the community (dieticians, pharmacists, physiotherapists and midwives).

Paramedical Care in New Zealand

Physiotherapy in New Zealand

The cost of a physiotherapy session in New Zealand covered by ACC (accident insurance) is $30 NZD and slightly less if the patient has student status or is receiving a discount. A private physiotherapist consultation is approximately $75 NZD.

Seeing an optician in New Zealand

A full consultation with an optician in New Zealand will cost you about $140 NZD. A shorter consultation, including an emergency visit, will usually cost between $70 and $110 NZD. In the event of injury, the ACC will cover part of your costs.
Myopia control assessment $170 NZD
Eye examination $60 NZD
New contact lens assessment $170 NZD
There is a cost to buying glasses. However, depending on your requirements, this price can vary from $100 NZD to over $1000 NZD. If you are looking for a branded pair of glasses, with accessories etc, you will easily end up paying $1000 NZD. Most standard frames and lenses will cost you between $100 NZD and $300 NZD. If you want to get progressive or bifocal lenses, it will cost you about $200 NZD more.

Speech therapy in New Zealand

Seeing a speech therapist in New Zealand has a cost, for your first one-hour session with a speech therapist, it will cost you or your child about $150 NZD. Subsequent sessions will be charged at around $90 NZD for 45 minutes.

Seeing a psychologist in New Zealand

Public health services in New Zealand are free for New Zealand residents, so psychologists working in the public health system will not charge anything to see you. However, getting a consultation with a psychologist in the public sector usually takes months. This is because the demand is far greater than the number of psychologists working in the public sector.
To get a consultation more quickly and easily, we recommend that you consult a psychologist in the private sector. Psychologists working in the private sector charge fees that vary considerably from one clinical psychologist to another.

Maternity in New Zealand, from pregnancy to childbirth

5 things to know about pregnancy in New Zealand
1. The first thing you need to do when you are pregnant is to choose the person who will accompany you throughout your pregnancy. In New Zealand this person is called the LMC or Lead Maternity Carer. Your LMC may be a family doctor who can provide maternity care, a midwife or an obstetrician. Your LMC should:
– Provide you with maternity care throughout your pregnancy;
– Be present at the time of delivery;
– Provide care for you and your baby until 6 weeks after birth.

2. If you have been granted permanent resident status in New Zealand, your maternity costs will be free of charge unless you have chosen to give birth privately.

3. You can get up to 10 days’ unpaid special leave during your pregnancy. If it is for medical appointments, antenatal classes – it is not necessary to take a full day off.

4. If you are a tenant, you must notify your landlord of your pregnancy. If you want to keep the flat after the birth of your child, make sure that your tenancy agreement allows you to take in another person. If not, ask your landlord to amend the contract to include an extra person.

5. Getting tested for diseases such as HIV can help prevent transmission of the disease to your baby during pregnancy.

Giving birth in New Zealand

Most births in New Zealand take place in clinics or hospitals. While maternity care is free in New Zealand, a private obstetrician will cost you between $3,000 NZD and $4,000 NZD. You will get more tests, a more medical, personalised approach to your care and better follow-up. If complications arise, an obstetrician will of course attend to you in the public system too, but you will not be able to choose one and you may have to deal with different doctors.
Regional hospitals deal with normal births as well as complicated pregnancies and deliveries. Your midwife will look after you, but there will always be an obstetrician on hand in case something unexpected happens.

Larger hospitals have multidisciplinary teams that deal with high-risk pregnancies. They also have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in case your baby needs extra care.

The advantage of hospital births is that you have access to specialists quickly at the slightest complication and have a wider range of pain management options. On the other hand, hospital births are often more medicated, so as a new mother you will have to follow particular routines and very specific protocols. If you need to stay for a few nights after the birth, you will be placed on the postnatal ward. You may have to share a room and the baby’s father is not allowed to stay overnight.

The cost of giving birth in New Zealand

The cost of an uncomplicated birth in New Zealand if you are not a permanent resident at Birthcare Auckland is NZD$3360. The cost of a post-natal night is :

  • $980 NZD for a standard room
  • $1212 NZD for a private room
  • 1430 NZD for a premium room

In addition, if you are not a permanent resident, you will be required to pay 50% of the initial cost of the delivery when you register with the hospital.

How do I see a paediatrician in New Zealand and how much does it cost?

Generally, a GP will recommend a hospital or a private paediatrician. You may also be referred to a paediatrician by other expatriates living in the same geographical area as you. The average cost of a private paediatrician consultation is between $150 and $200 NZD. If you are a permanent resident in New Zealand or a New Zealand or Australian citizen, a public paediatrician will be free of charge. However, you may have to wait several months for a consultation.

Vaccinations in New Zealand

For a trip to New Zealand, you will need to have your immunisation schedule up to date as well as the hepatitis A vaccine. For a longer stay, you will also need to be vaccinated against

  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid

There is no risk of malaria in New Zealand.

Why purchase private international health insurance in New Zealand?

If you are planning to relocate to New Zealand, it is highly recommended that you purchase private international health insurance. On the one hand, joining the New Zealand social security system is quite complicated. Indeed, only a person with permanent resident status can be eligible for Public Funded Healthcare. For example, anyone on a student visa, a WHP or a stay of less than 2 years will not be able to obtain permanent resident status and therefore benefit from the free public health system in New Zealand. The cost of health care in New Zealand is quite high and can quickly become problematic if you are not eligible for local social security or private health insurance. As New Zealand is a long way from Europe and North America, the costs of repatriation are extremely high. It is essential that you are covered for medical repatriation costs in the event of prolonged hospitalisation, for example, in order to be repatriated to Australia or your home country.

What private international health insurance should I purchase in New Zealand and for whom?

Whatever the type of stay you are planning, whatever your status, it is recommended to take out private health insurance for New Zealand. This is especially important if your visa does not allow you to qualify for permanent resident status. To be eligible for permanent residence status, you must have a work visa for more than 2 years in New Zealand, or a temporary visa or a very specific status. For example, a foreign language teacher, a minor under the guardianship of a citizen or permanent resident. If you do not have such a visa or are not a British, New Zealand or Australian national, it is essential that you take out private international health insurance. Otherwise, you will not be able to get cover in the country.

If you are eligible for permanent resident status, it is also advisable to take out private international health insurance while you complete the paperwork and obtain New Zealand social security. In addition, if you plan to travel throughout Oceania and Asia, or to your home country frequently, it is also recommended that you take out private international health insurance. A private health insurance such as GoldExpat will cover you in all countries you travel to and at the same rates. In addition, it will cover you for 100% of medical repatriation in case of major operations or treatments.

Whatever your profile, we offer private health insurance tailored to your plans:

Expatriate                               GoldExpat Insurance

PVT, digital nomad                Gold Start Insurance

Students                                 Gold Student Insurance

Tourist                                    Travel Pass Insurance

Retired                                    Gold Visa Insurance

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