Getting public health care in New Zealand

Only some people with visas can get publicly funded health care in New Zealand. Find out if you are eligible and what services you may be able to get.

Who can get publicly funded health care

The Ministry of Health decides who is eligible for publicly funded health care.

Eligibility explained — Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand

Check the Ministry of Health website to find out:

  • if you can get publicly funded health and disability services
  • what the criteria are
  • what you need to do to prove you are eligible
  • if you are eligible for full public health care or only limited services.

Guide to eligibility for publicly funded health services — Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand

If you must pay for your health care

Many people visiting New Zealand get travel insurance to cover the costs of any health care they may need.

Even if you are not eligible for publicly funded health care, there are some circumstances where you may be offered free or subsidised care.

Eligibility for a limited range of publicly funded health services — Ministry of Health

If you have a student visa or a working holiday visa

If you have a Fee-paying Student Visa or a working holiday visa, you must get health insurance. This is one of the criteria of applying for the visa.

Fee-paying Student Visa — Criteria: medical and travel insurance

Check the information for your country's working holiday to find out about the health insurance you will need.

Working holiday visas

If you are pregnant

You must be able to cover the costs of your maternity care if you:

  • have a temporary visa to visit, study or work in New Zealand
  • cannot get publicly funded health care, and
  • will be here during your pregnancy or for the birth.

Paying for maternity care

Health services that are publicly funded

Not all government health services are free. The Ministry of Health manages services paid for or subsidised by the government.

Publicly funded health and disability services — Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand

Healthcare services — Live and Work New Zealand

If you are injured by accident

The New Zealand Government helps pay for medical costs if you are injured in an accident. The service is provided by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

If your injury is covered, ACC will help pay your medical costs even if you are in New Zealand on a temporary visa to visit, study or work.

What we cover — ACC

If you're a visitor injured in New Zealand — ACC