Healthcare in New Zealand
By Ted Beust | Our Voice Contributor
On my first stop around the globe, I looked in-depth at England’s healthcare system, the National Health Service. Now let’s take a look at the healthcare system of New Zealand.
Healthcare in New Zealand is funded by taxes – sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Their healthcare system is called Social Security. Everyone is covered. If a New Zealander wants to use a public hospital, the services are free. The public health system covers services such as inpatient and outpatient care, preventative care, hospice care, prescription drug subsidies, and long-term care. However, if you’re not either of those things, you’ll have to pay to use the public hospital services listed above.
In order to qualify for Social Security healthcare from any source, you must be either permanent residents, a citizen of New Zealand, or a holder of a work visa who plans to live in New Zealand for at least two years. In order to receive healthcare you have to register with a GP.
There are over 13,000 GPs in New Zealand, so they have a lot to choose from. Luckily for New Zealanders there are no boundaries preventing them from signing up for a GP. There are 25 regions and 19 PHOs (Primary Health Organizations) in New Zealand.
But unlike the NHS, people in New Zealand actually have to pay to see their General Practitioner – it’s relatively cheap though. The average cost of a GP visit is between $45 and $55 New Zealand dollars.
Pharmacies are fairly easy to access in New Zealand. Most medical products and pharmaceutical drugs in the country are subsidized by the government.
If you carry around a Community Services Card or High Use Health Card, the price of drugs will be about $3 per item. Without one, however, the subsidized drug prescriptions will be somewhere between $5-15. For children under the age of six, all drugs are free of charge!
With all the data that has been given, it’s safe to say that New Zealand’s healthcare is pretty easy to comprehend. It is delivered healthcare that is sensible and affordable to most citizens who live on the island.