New Zealand offers high-quality public and private healthcare throughout the country. Permanent residents also benefit from the coverage of its Social Security system, and thus from free or subsidised access to a number of healthcare services. However, many also take out private health insurance to make access to care even more comfortable.
Health insurance for expats in New Zealand
How does the healthcare system work in New Zealand?
New Zealand’s public healthcare system is funded through the government's Ministry of Health. Health services are available to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, and some temporary residents (such as work visa holders). Visitors from the UK and Australia can also access the public system, as they are covered by a reciprocal health agreement.
The vast majority of hospital admissions in the public sector are fully covered, as are medical consultations for under-13s and dental care for under-18s.
For other categories of insured persons, generalist or specialist consultations (whose fees are freely set by doctors, and can vary greatly) are partially subsidised by the system; however, dental care and private hospital care are not covered.
How to choose health insurance in New Zealand: local or international?
Many citizens and residents in New Zealand generally opt for supplementary private health insurance. This offers more flexibility, access to private hospitals, additional services such as adult dental care, and extra cover for treatments not fully covered by the public system.
Expatriates moving to New Zealand on a long-term or short-term basis may find it beneficial to take out international health insurance (instead of, or sometimes in addition to, local health insurance). It offers many privileged benefits, such as coverage outside New Zealand, repatriation assistance as well as the possibility of choosing hospitals (which local insurance does not always allow).