When travelling, things don’t always go to plan.
In New Zealand we are able to access (mostly free) healthcare however when we are away from New Zealand the cost of health care can be huge.
Get travel insurance
The first rule of travel is to take out comprehensive travel insurance – as the saying goes, if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford the trip.
Keep a complete record
Keep all the original receipts, and ask for a copy of all consultation notes from the treating doctor. These are necessary not only for your insurance claim but also in case you require additional treatment.
If the medical care is a result of an accident, it is possible that on your return to New Zealand, ACC will be able to cover your injury.
Contact the local embassy
If you are having trouble accessing care or need some further advice, you can contact the nearest New Zealand Embassy. They can help with communication and making travel and other arrangements.
Visiting a doctor or dentist
Check your travel insurance to find out what is covers. There is no need to contact your travel insurance provider if you are seeking minor health or dental care. If you think the cost is likely to creep up over $2,000 then give your insurers.
Ask your accommodation provider or a local for a recommendation or for the nearest medical centre.
Reciprocal healthcare agreements
New Zealand has reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom. This means that some services may be funded however you will still need to have comprehensive travel insurance.
If you are able, prior to going to hospital, or as soon as reasonably practical, contact your insurance Emergency Line and talk through your situation and determine what you are covered for. If you are unable to do this, ask a trusted friend or family member to do this on your behalf.
It is possible your insurer will be able to pay the hospital direct on your behalf.