New Zealand High Commission Canberra, Australia

Health care for Australians in New Zealand

The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement

Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia temporarily visiting New Zealand are eligible under the Australian-New Zealand Reciprocal Health Agreement to access immediately necessary public hospital services, pharmaceuticals or maternity services in terms no less favourable than would apply to New Zealanders. Existing conditions are covered only where treatment is deemed to be necessary for the diagnosis, alleviation or care of the condition requiring immediately necessary treatment. In general terms, the Agreement is designed to cover emergency situations. The Agreement does not cover any treatment that a visitor travels specifically to the other country to receive.

Note: New Zealand has a similar Reciprocal Health Agreement with the United Kingdom.

Because Australians temporarily visiting New Zealand are eligible for publicly funded health care on the same basis as New Zealand residents, user charges apply in most cases to visits to a General Practitioner, for GP referred laboratory and diagnostic tests, private specialists and prescription items. Private travel insurance may cover these extra charges and it is strongly recommended that all visitors to New Zealand take out comprehensive travel insurance (including health cover) before they arrive in the country.

The two year rule - Publicly funded health care beyond that provided by the reciprocal agreement is available to Australians who have been ordinarily resident in New Zealand for two or more years (continuously) or can demonstrate an intention to remain in New Zealand for a period that (together with the time they have already been in the country) equals or exceeds two years.

Publicly funded health care is also available to Australian permanent residents who hold a permit allowing them to stay in New Zealand for two or more years.

New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia are considered Australian residents. If they can demonstrate a reasonable intention to reside in New Zealand for a minimum of two years they are able to access public health care when they return to live there.

Many New Zealanders choose to obtain private health insurance. Private health insurance companies may be found in New Zealand Yellow Pages telephone directories and the Yellow Pages.

For further information on health care, contact:

Ministry of Health

PO Box 5013
Telephone: +64 - (0)4 - 496 2000
Facsmilie: +64 - (0)4 - 496 2340

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