Eligibility criteria for free healthcare
People who are eligible for publicly-funded health services may receive some services free of charge or at a reduced cost. These services will always be determined by a healthcare professional and the availability of the service.
Overseas visitors will always receive any urgent treatment required but will have to pay for their treatment.
You are eligible for free or reduced-cost healthcare if you are either:
- a New Zealand citizen (including citizens who live in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau)
- a New Zealand resident
- a person who has held a work visa for two years or longer
- a refugee or an applicant for refugee status
- a child 18 years or under who has an eligible parent or legal guardian.
Some people are eligible for a limited range of publicly-funded services:
- pregnant women whose spouse or partner is eligible (maternity care only)
- Australian or UK residents requiring urgent treatment.
For more information regarding eligibility for publicly-funded health and disability services in New Zealand visit moh.govt.nz/eligibility
Free care is provided for patients admitted to hospital under a compulsory treatment order. These orders are issued under:
- the Tuberculosis Act
- the Health Act
- the Mental Health Act
- the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act.
When your GP refers you to a Nelson Marlborough Health service or you present in the Emergency Department, you could be asked to provide proof of your eligibility. This includes proof of your citizenship, date of birth and place of birth.
One of the following is required to prove eligibility:
- NZ Passport
- NZ Resident Visa/Permanent Resident Visa
- Current Work Visa (valid for two years or more)
- Letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming refugee status/protected person status
- Australian Passport or other country passport with a current Australian Resident Visa
- UK Passport with a visitor visa or student visa or a work visa for less than two years AND proof of being an ordinary resident in the UK (return ticket, proof of employment in the UK, lease agreement).
The legal guardians of children (18 years or under) who require treatment must prove their eligibility using one of the above documents.
Note: Australian citizens/residents who intend to stay in New Zealand for two years or more - proof of long term residency is also required; this can be a New Zealand employment contract and/or house purchase or rental agreement.
Private health insurance
Patients must arrange for all payments to be made to the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMDHB).
Nelson Marlborough Health will only invoice an insurance provider if the provider has accepted liability and has guaranteed payment to the DHB.
If insurance does not apply, you are personally liable for the cost of your treatment. Payment can be made Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm at:
- Nelson Hospital enquiries desk or the emergency department (after hours)
- Wairau Hospital enquiries desk.
Fees for general specialist treatment
The estimated cost must be paid in advance and any additional costs paid in full at the end of treatment.
Page last updated: 23/04/2021