Community Services Card and High Use Health Card

The Community Services Card (CSC) can help individuals and their families with the costs of health care. It entitles the holder and their family to a reduction in the cost of some health services and prescriptions.

The High Use Health Card (HUHC) offers the same benefits of a CSC for an individual visiting a general practitioner that they are not enrolled with or when paying for prescriptions.

Community Services Card

The CSC is administered by Work and Income on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Individuals may be entitled to apply for a CSC if they are:

  • 18 years old or over (or 16–17 years old in full-time tertiary study), and
  • on a low to middle income (depending on their family situation), and
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Refugees or people with protection status or who have applied for refugee or protection status may also be eligible to apply for the CSC.

The Community Services Card can reduce the cost of:

  • prescription fees
  • fees for after-hours general practice visits
  • visits to a general practice where the individual is not enrolled  
  • glasses for children under 16
  • emergency dental care provided by hospitals and approved dental contractors (ask the dental provider if they are an approved contractor)
  • travel and accommodation for treatment at a public hospital outside the home area when the patient has been referred (at least 80 km away for adults and 25 km for children)
  • home help.

The card can be used for dependent children aged under 18 years.

Visit the Work and Income website to find out more.

High Use Health Card

The High Use Health Card (HUHC) gives a general practice a higher government subsidy for patients with high health needs. This means that the practice can spend more time on developing plans to better manage the patient’s health condition/s.

To be eligible for this card the patient needs to have visited a health practitioner at the general practice they are enrolled in, 12 or more times in 1 year, with the consultations being related to a particular condition or condition(s) which are ongoing. This card is not means tested.

The general practice will have a record of visits, and the doctor will need to make the application on the patient’s behalf for a HUHC. The card lasts for 1 year, after which time a new application can be made (if appropriate).

The HUHC gives the same amount of subsidy as the Community Services Card on GP visits and prescription charges. If an individual already has a CSC, there is no advantage in having a HUHC because the subsidy is the same. However, if the individual has a HUHC, there is an advantage in also having a CSC, because the CSC gives subsidies to all dependent family members, while the HUHC is only for an individual.

Patients should talk to their doctor or nurse about whether they are being charged a lower fee because they have a HUHC.

If a patient with a HUHC has to visit a general practice other than the one they are enrolled with (for example if they are on holiday) then they may be entitled to being charged a reduced fee. Patients should check this with the practice.

For more information on the High Use Health Card, go to the Claims, provider payments and entitlements section.

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