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.
Are you eligible for free healthcare?
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 student with a student's visa
- a visitor with a visitor’s permit
- a UK or Australian citizen who is visiting NZ
- an Australian citizen who is living in NZ
- 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 for compulsory treatment
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.
Required proof of eligibility
One of the following is required to prove eligibility:
- NZ, Australian or UK passport
- residency permit
- current work permit for two years or more
- refugee status certification
- proof of long-term residency (eg, rates invoices or tenancy agreements)
The legal guardians of children (18 years or under) who require treatment must prove their eligibility using one of the above documents.
Payment options for ineligible patients
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: 06/04/2016