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Low cost health care visits for 18 to 24 year olds

19 May 2005

Hon Annette King

Minister of Health

Low cost health care visits for 18 to 24 year olds

The 2005 Budget provides funding from 1 July for lower cost primary health care visits and lower charges on most prescription items for all 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in Primary Health Organisations.

Health Minister Annette King says the government is providing $17.2 million in 2005-06 and $74.4 million over the next four years to roll out the next stage of the Primary Health Care Strategy.

The new funding is expected to benefit 231,863 people aged 18 to 24 who are enrolled in interim PHOs. More than 100,000 people in the same age group already get similar benefits because they are enrolled with Access PHOs.

"I am delighted this group will be able to participate in the benefits of lower cost health care," Ms King said. "New Zealanders aged under 18 and over 65 already qualify.

"In July next year funding will be extended to 45 to 64 year olds enrolled in PHOs, and all other New Zealanders in PHOs will be funded from July 2007. New Zealanders are seeing the benefits of the Strategy far faster than I originally envisaged.

"The Strategy represents the greatest change to the delivery of primary health care for decades. Because far more New Zealanders have enrolled in PHOs than anticipated, this budget is providing increased funding for primary care of $196.4 million over the next four years. There are now 77 PHOs throughout the country serving 3.8 million New Zealanders.

"Overall the government has now committed to spending $2.2 billion in new money over the seven years from 2002-03 to make primary health care more affordable and accessible, representing an unprecedented investment in sustainable funding.

"I strongly believe that the most effective way to make real improvements in the overall health of New Zealanders is to provide access to low cost, high quality primary health care that is delivered to people where they live and work."

ENDS

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