Health & Protection in New Zealand
Aside from single professional expats signing up for the adventure of work holiday visas, New Zealand is also popular among those relocating with their families to seek a better life, a better future. If you have made up your mind to start a new life in this splendid country, or you have just been offer a posting there, you should put healthcare on top of your pros list. Many expats tend to forget this because of the many things they need to attend to during the transition process. Some even think that it is not a priority and that travel insurance will suffice at first. But there is more to medical insurance than just accidents and sickness, so as you move to New Zealand, here are some useful facts you need to learn on how you can protect your health and your family as well.
Your employer should be the primary provider of your health care as part of your relocation package to New Zealand. If you have any concerns or clarifications about the coverage of your insurance, you can contact the Human Resources office of your company to answer your questions. All insurance brokers in New Zealand should be accredited by the Ministry of Commerce- Business & Relations Branch so your company’s insurance broker should be listed under this local government sector. If your employer makes unauthorised changes in your contract that is not part of the agreement, you can contact the ministry here.
"A hospital stay is free, as long as you’re a citizen or permanent resident. Visits to the doctor cost about $40. Dentistry, however, is awful. It’s so expensive that less than half the population visits the dentist on a regular basis."- Abigail Simpson, Expat in New Zealand
If you have a work permit (minimum of 12 months) or permanent residence permit, then you can have access to the free health care in New Zealand which is funded through general taxation. You can also get private coverage from the list of international and local brokers in the country, but its best that you shop around first to know about their different types of policies that can meet your needs. Clements Worldwide is an international company servicing many expats in New Zealand for their life, health, home, auto and other types of coverage. There is also the AMI Insurance, a local insurance provider that offers a whole blanket of protection to their clients.
Importance of Insurance
New Zealand has an excellent health care system, but you should still be very careful and be prepared for anything that might happen. There are neither required vaccinations for expats entering the country nor any deadly animals that you should be scared of. However, because of its geographical location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, New Zealand is known to have natural disasters such as volcanic activities, tsunamis and earthquakes. The central city of Christchurch is also having problems of thick smog which can cause chronic lung diseases to its residents.
Avoid being trapped inside a box by thinking that insurance is not necessarily needed because you can just pay for treatment or medical service out of your pocket. But hospitalisation bills can reap you off especially in private hospitals, and this is where good health coverage comes in the picture. What seems to be a sleeping investment at first will prove to be extremely helpful in an emergency situation and at the same time keep you from being financially hurt.
Local Insurance in New Zealand
The public health care system in the country provides free service to all residents including emergency treatments and hospital-based care. Most locals and expats are members of the state-funded programme called PHO or Primary Health Organisation, where the government reduces a significant amount from medicine costs and consultation fees. It is advised that you should enlist to PHO as soon as you arrive in the country because the application process generally takes about three months. Aside from the public medical facilities, there are also private hospitals in the country where the queue is shorter especially for the non-urgent conditions. In an emergency situation, you can dial 911 for an immediate response from the police, ambulance or fire department.
Private local health care in the country is considered to be affordable compared to other nations. However, as an expat in New Zealand, you can also strongly consider getting insurance from an international company since they have a wider range of coverage unlike a local provider and has long years of experience catering to expats from different parts of the globe.
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