The New Zealand government sets the eligibility criteria for funding for health and disability services. There are a number of groups who meet eligibility criteria, including New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, Australian citizens and permanent residents who have lived or intend to live in New Zealand for 2 years or more and children of eligible people. 

Patients will be asked to provide documents to prove their eligibility (New Zealanders should only need to provide this the first time). If you’re eligible for funding, most (but not all) services will be provided free of charge.

Read the Guide to eligibility for public health services on the Ministry of Health's website


Funded Health Services

If you are eligible for publicly funded healthcare in New Zealand, your care should, in most cases, be free. 

The New Zealand Government funds health and disability services for people who meet the eligibility criteria set by the Minister of Health. Most services are free (or partly subsidised) for people who meet the eligibility criteria at the time they receive the services.

All patients will be asked to provide documents (e.g. Passports and birth certificates) to prove they are eligible for free or subsidised health care (New Zealanders should only need to prove their eligibility once). Immigration New Zealand may be contacted to clarify patients’ residency or visa status.

You qualify for all publicly funded health and disability services if you are:

  • A NZ citizen (including those from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau)
  • An Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident who has/intends to stay in NZ at least two years
  • A NZ residence class visa holder (i.e. a resident visa, permanent resident visa or residence permit)
  • A work visa holder eligible to be in NZ for two years or more (including time spent lawfully in NZ immediately prior to work visa)
  • An interim visa holder who was eligible immediately before their interim visa started
  • A NZ Aid Programme student receiving Overseas Development Assistance funding, or their partner
  • A refugee or protected person (including applicants and people appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal)
  • A victim or suspected victim of people trafficking
  • A child under 18 in the care and control of a parent or legal guardian or person applying to become their legal guardian or adopting parent eligible as above
  • A student visa (or permit) holder on a Commonwealth Scholarship from a NZ university
  • A Ministry of Education Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.


You may qualify for a specific set of services if you are:

  • The pregnant partner of an eligible person, for maternity-related services (or where your child is a NZ citizen by birth)
  • An Australian resident (holding a Medicare card) in NZ on a temporary stay, for immediately necessary hospital, maternity and pharmaceutical services
  • A United Kingdom (UK) citizen ordinarily resident in the UK, on a temporary stay, for promptly required services
  • A person being assessed or receiving treatment for tuberculosis or infectious diseases listed in the Health Act, to contain or control the risk to the public
  • A child requiring Immunisation Schedule vaccinations or Well Child services
  • A person being assessed or receiving compulsory services under the: Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act,  Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act , Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act, or the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act
  • A prisoner requiring services; not available in Corrections facilities.


Accidental injury and Emergency care

All overseas visitors are entitled to free care for injuries caused by an accident; but the claim must be accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). The Accident Compensation Corporation will also decide whether the costs of ongoing treatment will be covered.

Anyone needing emergency care will receive treatment. However, patients that do not qualify for free or subsidised health care will be charged for their treatment and payment will be required before they leave the hospital.

Certain services required in civil emergencies (national or regional) are also publicly funded for overseas visitors and other ineligible people.


When will I have to pay?

Anyone who is not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services is personally liable and must pay the full costs of their treatment. This includes collection costs and any other costs incurred.


Payment options

Payments for treatment can be made at:

  • Cashier, Wellington Main Outpatients
  • Cashier, Kenepuru Community Hospital
  • Emergency Department Reception
  • Dental Reception,Wellington Regional Hospital and Kenepuru Community Hospital
  • Te Mahoe, Women’s Health Services, Wellington Regional Hospital
  • Riddiford Hostel Office
  • Audiology Department, Wellington Regional Hospital


Insurance Company Payments

You will be invoiced for your treatment costs. You’ll need to arrange for your insurance company to pay the costs. You will remain personally liable until an insurance company has accepted full liability and the service has been guaranteed payment.

If your insurance company only covers part of the costs incurred, you will still be liable for the full bill.

Last updated 24 October 2023.