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Changes To NZ/Australia New Reciprocal Care

16 July 1999

Changes to the New Zealand/Australia New Reciprocal Care Agreement

Changes to the reciprocal health agreement between New Zealand and Austalia come into play from 1 September, the Ministry of Health announced today.

The Ministry's policy director Cathryn Ashley-Jones says amendments to the Reciprocal Health Agreement with Australia ensure equality in health care provided to Australians and New Zealanders temporarily visiting each other's countries.

New Zealanders who are travelling in Australia and require urgent hospital services, pharmaceuticals or urgent maternity services will continue to receive them. However, New Zealanders will no longer be eligible for GP subsidies or subsidised diagnostic and laboratory tests (other than in hospital) when they visit a GP in Australia.

Cathryn Ashley-Jones says Australians visiting New Zealand have not been eligible for subsidies when they visit GPs in New Zealand, so it is only fair that New Zealand travellers meet the one-off cost of a GP's visit when they visit Australia.

The changes will not affect New Zealanders who are resident in Australia

The new agreement will comes into effect from 1 September 1999 and arises from changes to the Health Benefits (Reciprocity with Australia) Act 1986. Full details of the agreement will be posted on the Ministry of Health website (www.moh.govt.nz).

ENDS

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