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When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Canandaigua
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When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

So our fabulous trip was punctuated by a medical emergency, which doesn't happen to everyone, but is certainly worth planning for. Our trip to a remote farmhouse in Akaroa to see the penguins and hike part of the Banks Great Walk was interrupted by a case of appendicitis in our 12 year old.

Alls well that ends well, and she got thru her surgery and is recouperating well, but a few things made it easier.

We had copies of all our medical cards and the relevant overseas phone numbers.

We had checked what our coverage was beforehand, and were aware of the requirements for authorization.

We weren't afraid to ask for help when we needed it.

We had a credit card with a large limit on it in case of such an emergency.

One factor that could have been disastrous: driving to Christchurch at 10pm on a Saturday from Akaroa, the fuel light came on. We were fortunate to find an open gas station before we ran out of gas.In NZ, I suggest keeping a bit more gas in the tank than you might at home.

I can't give enough praise to the kindness and professionalism of everyone we met in the NZ health care system. Everyone was primarily concerned with my daughter's welfare, and while we had to put a $400 Emergency Room visit on a credit card, it didn't hold up her treatment at all. The nurses and doctors at the Public Hospital in Christchurch provided excellent and personal care, answered all questions, and went out of their way to make our emergency as untraumatic as possible.

We also experienced kindness and assistance from Shireen and Francis at the Pohatu Penguin tour, and the owners of the City Centre Motel and Belmont Motor Inn, who helped us extend our stay in a crowded Christchurch.

To me this was another example of why you might want to consider service as well as price when making travel arrangements.Having hosts who genuinely want to help you experience the best of New Zealand or, in case of an untoward event, will go out of their way to help you are worth much more than the small amount of money saved on rock bottom accommodation and services.

Nova Scotia
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for Nova Scotia
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1. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Thanks for posting this. It is a lesson to be prepared, but more than that it is a testament to the kindness and care of the people in New Zealand.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

I'm so glad it all ended well for your daughter.

It can be scary enough having a medical emergency, let alone when so far from home, plus dealing with a foreign medical system.

But it sounds like you were all well taken care of, which is the main thing :)

Queenstown, New...
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3. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Thanks for posting.

A review for the businesses that helped would be a nice thing to do.

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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4. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

I assume from your comments that you had Medical Insurance as part of your travel insurance package. Could you explain why the Insurance company didnt take over the medical bills upfront or did you front up at the Accident and Emergency first , then contact your insurance company.

There are a number of recent threads highlighting the importance of having adequate medical insurance when travelling overseas, this is another.

Glad to hear that your daughter is on the road to recovery.

Canandaigua
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5. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

It was a Sunday so we couldn't contact the appropriate people right away. we also have a deductible .

My husband spent literally hours on phone and email contacting people and being redirected or put on hold.I was so relieved that the staff at hospital didn't wait for approval to go ahead.We got the approval about 2 hours after her surgery.

As a frequent poster, I'll obviously be praising on line all our helpers. I have also thanked them all personally more than once.

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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6. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Whilst non resident persons in Nz are required to pay for medical tyreatment in NZ it is done on a recovery basis not on a prepay basis hence why your daughter got her surgery and the bill was sorted out later. We are good like that but often to our cost with lots and lots of money owed to the NZ health service by overseas visitors

Canandaigua
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7. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Just so you know, Bean, we made our last payment to the NZ health service in March.

Our copay was $3000 NZ dollars, and we were allowed to pay it off over 4 months...Now we can go back! The price before insurance was NZ$11,000, approximately.

A wise traveler will have insurance!

New Zealand
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for South Island
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8. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

And you will be very welcome back too S&S :)

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Are Australian Citizens covered by NZ public healthcare - I.e if this happened to us as Australians - would we be covered with no out of pockets?

Thanks

New Zealand
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10. Re: When Things Go Wrong...NZ Health Care

Details of reciprocal health agreements can be found on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

…govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibili…

Even if you are covered for hospital care, it is still advisable to take out travel insurance which will cover things such as disruptions to travel arrangements, medical evacuation back to Australia (should you need to go home in a stretcher, for example).