Publicly funded health and disability services

Most health and disability services in New Zealand are publicly funded for eligible people.

Government funding of health and disability services means that eligible people may receive free inpatient and outpatient public hospital services, subsidies on prescription items and a range of support services for people with disabilities in the community.

If you are not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services, you can still get the services, but you will have to pay for them, and should get health insurance.

The Government recommends that people who are not eligible for publicly funded services, or those who only have cover under the Reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom, also have health insurance, because the reciprocal agreements only cover immediate and necessary treatment on the same basis as New Zealanders. Visits to a general practitioner, non-urgent or discretionary services, rehabilitation, and repatriation are not funded within the reciprocal agreement.

Guide to eligibility

  • Go to the Guide to Eligibility to see if you are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.

Eligibility for specific services

Some services are subject to special eligibility criteria, even for people who are eligible for publicly funded services.

For more information on these services, go to High-cost treatment pool.

In this section

  • The local doctor or general practitioner (GP) is the important first contact for New Zealanders if they get sick. It is good practice to think about your choices early and find where a suitable GP is before you get sick. Read more
  • You will always be received as a patient if you need acute or emergency care and go to a hospital. Eligible people will receive free inpatient and outpatient treatment, X-rays, and laboratory tests at public hospitals. Read more
  • The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a Government agency that provides comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand. Anyone needing emergency care in a hospital as a result of an accident will be covered by ACC. Read more
  • A range of basic dental services are available to eligible children and adolescents up until 18 years of age. A limited range of services for some adults is publicly funded. This page outlines the main publicly funded services. Read more
  • Most maternity care is free for women who meet the eligibility criteria. This page outlines the criteria and the services that are funded. It also covers the care available under reciprocal health agreements, and for HIV-infected pregnant women regardless of eligibility. Read more
  • Regardless of whether they meet the eligibility criteria specified in the 2003 Eligibility Direction, a person suspected of having a notifiable infectious disease, and who may be infectious and so pose a risk to others, has access to the several publicly funded services. Read more
  • Information on eligibility for publicly funded health and disability services for people from Pacific Island countries, including those living in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. Read more
  • To be eligible for public funding for residential care, a person must meet the eligibility criteria for the full range of public funded health and disability services, and be assessed as requiring residential care. Read more
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