Good news, kiwi families! Visits to your family doctor will soon be free for children under 13. From 1 July 1 2015, all children under 13 are eligible for free doctor’s visits, both during the day and after-hours. Under-13s are also exempt from the standard $5 pharmacy charge for each prescription item from 1 July 2015.

This new scheme is an extension of the current scheme for free doctor’s visits for children under six.

However, general practices can choose whether or not to provide ‘zero fees’ to under-13s. Those that opt in receive an additional subsidy from the Government. However, practices don’t have to opt in so you’ll need to check with your practice to see whether they have. If your regular practice doesn’t offer zero-fee care to under-13s, you can choose to enrol with another practice that does.

Who is eligible for free doctor’s visits?

From 1 July 2015 all children aged under 13 are eligible for free care during the day from a GP or nurse at their usual practice. Your child needs to be enrolled in the practice and any child who isn’t already enrolled with a general practice can enrol for free.

What does the scheme cover?

This scheme applies to a standard daytime visit to a GP or nurse at the usual practice where the child is enrolled, or to an after-hours visit to a participating clinic. It also applies to injury related visits covered by ACC.

During the day if you are not going to your regular practice you may be charged a fee; make an appointment with your regular practice if you can.

Fees for extended consultations, procedures and extra services, such as certificates or equipment, will continue to be charged in the usual way.

What about after-hours care?

Under 13s are also eligible for fees free after hours care and prescriptions. You may need to ask your general practice or pharmacist where to find your local after hours service.

What about consultations covered by ACC?

All general practices will receive an extra funding contribution from ACC to enable them to provide free visits for injured children under 13. GPs can choose to charge a fee, but it is expected that the increased contributions will mean that most GPs provide free visits for under-13s for injuries covered by ACC.

What about prescription charges?

From July 1 2015, the $5 charge for each item of prescription medicine will be removed for children under 13, though pharmacies may charges for extra services such as medicines delivery or packaging. Fees for medicines that are not fully funded by Pharmac remain the same. Check with your pharmacist about any additional fees.

Finding out more about free doctor’s visits…

Talk to your general practice or pharmacist for more information or visit www.health.govt.nz.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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