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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am living in Canada but thinking about moving to New Zealand at least for a couple of years. Like many others I am attracted by better weather ( Quebec weather makes me hibernate for 6 months of the year hah) and the spirit of adventure :)

I spend time reading about life in NZ so I am prepared if I move there. Some questions I have troubles to find answers so it would be great if you guys can help me!

One of the frustrating things about Canada (and Quebec specifically) is that unless you have private health insurance waiting times to see any specialist doctor can be very long and if you need to do something like MRI .. it can take a year .. on the good side if you have a job you will most likely to get private health insurance (you still pay around 100 dollars a month for it ) and waiting time goes down from a year to a week.

I am wondering if anyone knows what are the typical waiting time for a free/public specialist (for example gastroenterology, ear/nose or any other)? What is the typical waiting time for free ultrasound, MRI or CT scan?

Is it common at all to get a private health insurance paid partially by your employer like in Canada or U.S. ?

Thank you very much for you time!
 

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Hi,

I am living in Canada but thinking about moving to New Zealand at least for a couple of years. Like many others I am attracted by better weather ( Quebec weather makes me hibernate for 6 months of the year hah) and the spirit of adventure :)

I spend time reading about life in NZ so I am prepared if I move there. Some questions I have troubles to find answers so it would be great if you guys can help me!

One of the frustrating things about Canada (and Quebec specifically) is that unless you have private health insurance waiting times to see any specialist doctor can be very long and if you need to do something like MRI .. it can take a year .. on the good side if you have a job you will most likely to get private health insurance (you still pay around 100 dollars a month for it ) and waiting time goes down from a year to a week.

I am wondering if anyone knows what are the typical waiting time for a free/public specialist (for example gastroenterology, ear/nose or any other)? What is the typical waiting time for free ultrasound, MRI or CT scan?

Is it common at all to get a private health insurance paid partially by your employer like in Canada or U.S. ?

Thank you very much for you time!
You'll still wait a while for specialist care that is free - maybe half the time that you would currently wait, so 6 months.
If it's a life threatening or serious situation then obviously the treatment or tests will be conducted immediately.
I rushed the wife to A&E in Wellington last year as we thought she could be having a stroke / TIA. The ED department did many tests, MRI and CT scans within 24hrs. Luckily turned out to be some freak type of migraine - phew!
But as I said, because it was a situation that could have been serious they did the tests without even blinking.

Some employers offer free basic private health care but all depends on the employer. I'm lucky that I get southern cross regular care for free as part of my salary that covers everyone in my household.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for taking time to reply to my questions! I assume the waiting time also will be different in different places.
It is good to hear that some companies can offer the additional private health insurance but my understanding that it is very uncommon (it is very common in Canada, but usually you have to work for 3 months before you get it).
In Canada I found that even in the same city the waiting time for specialist or some test can be very different like one place can have 4 months wait and another one just a couple of weeks, but it takes time and effort to find the right place and usually it still would be a long wait. I seems that NZ has many similarities to Canadian health system.

Could you tell me how is the situation with the dentists? Here in Canada you need a private insurance to cover it and even so it only covers 80% to 50%. Usually private insurance through work would provide it .
 

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The Canadian health system does sound very similar to the NZ one.

Waiting times do vary between regions. A few years back there was a chronic shortage of gastro physicians here in Hamilton, so waiting times were about 4 months, even for private consultations. What they sometimes do, if waiting lists in a particular field get too long, is send patients to other regions. So if the waiting list in Hamilton for a scan or something is too long, you may be sent to Tauranga instead. A friend of mine had his hip replacement operation in Rotorua on the free public system because of a much shorter waiting period. Some waiting periods can get rather long occasionally on the public system. It's not unheard of to be as long as 2 years sometimes, if you are say, wanting a varicose veins op or something that has minor priority. But as escapedtonz said, serious conditions are looked at straight away, or as soon as possible.
 

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Thank you very much for taking time to reply to my questions! I assume the waiting time also will be different in different places.
It is good to hear that some companies can offer the additional private health insurance but my understanding that it is very uncommon (it is very common in Canada, but usually you have to work for 3 months before you get it).
In Canada I found that even in the same city the waiting time for specialist or some test can be very different like one place can have 4 months wait and another one just a couple of weeks, but it takes time and effort to find the right place and usually it still would be a long wait. I seems that NZ has many similarities to Canadian health system.

Could you tell me how is the situation with the dentists? Here in Canada you need a private insurance to cover it and even so it only covers 80% to 50%. Usually private insurance through work would provide it .
Dentists here in nz are expensive. It isn't funded or majority funded like I was used to back home in the uk.
Our landlord is a dentist and had his own practice in Tauranga for years but with rising operating costs he decided to sell up and one of the big dentist companies bought him out - this particular one is called Lumino. Probably the most expensive in the region and he also got a job with them as part of the deal so he's been their senior dentist for a while. He's explained to me that the high cost for treatment here is completely warranted due to the high cost of materials and equipment plus staff salaries and constant training as new equipment and technology comes on to the market. He said it was a nightmare just to keep afloat.
We've been here over 3 years and have only been the once using discount vouchers off the internet. A check up, clean/polish and x-rays for $90 each then I spent another $100 for the hygienist to do her magic. My wife needs 2 x fillings and the cheapest is $450 plus GST so as yet she's not had it done.
You can get private insurance to cover or part cover dentist treatment but it's generally as part of a health insurance package so you have to pay a lot per month for a good health insurance package before you can then add on the dentist cover.
I'm unable to add dentist cover to the health insurance package that I get free through my employer. To get it I have to upgrade to a more comprehensive package and then add the dentist option and the 'corporate rate' additional cost will be $120 per month to cover 2 adults and a child. The downside is we would lose a majorly important part of our current cover if we went this route. We would lose the gp cover where we get 80% of all gp and nurse consultations plus prescription charges back. It would cost us another $20 per month to add this back on to the more comprehensive policy that doesn't have that cover included.
We've decided not to bother yet.

Unlikely there's many employers offer dentist cover through their employment scheme.
 

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Hi! I am from NZ and I now live in Canada so I have direct experience comparing the two. The wait time for specialists is slightly shorter in NZ than Canada, but emergency response is comparable and immediate. NZ has a private healthcare system so if you want to you can go through that and depending on the procedure you're having you may find it not that expensive.

Dentists are actually cheaper in NZ than in Canada if you are paying outright, but dental coverage through an employer or insurance is very rare so if you're used to benefits covering dental then you will have to pay more. I had a dental check up in NZ in October 2013 and it cost $70 I think. When my sister had to have her wisdom teeth out it was going to cost twice as much in Canada (she was a student here so no benefits) as NZ - it ended up being cheaper for her to fly home to have the operation.

Overall I have found the main difference between the two is where your costs come from. In Canada doctors are free but prescriptions are expensive (often even with drug coverage). In NZ you pay to see a doctor, but prescriptions are almost always covered by Pharmac, so each script will cost you $5 total, no matter how many repeats are on it. In 20 years in NZ I had one prescription that wasn't fully covered by Pharmac. It cost me $12.

Honestly? I prefer the NZ system, but that might be because I grew up in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone for you reply this is very good information!


escapedtonz was 450 + tax for the both fillings or just per one?
I had to do 2 fillings in Canada without insurance some time ago and it cost me around 400 cad $.. not cheap at all :(
In Canada I had to have private health insurance through work (was not even able to refuse it) and for one person it was between 50 and 100 dollars.. and for two people it would be twice more. It was pretty good one though so it was worth the pay.. but still not so cheap when you pay every month.

I have an unrelated question, do you get to pay other deductions than taxes and accidental health insurance from you paycheck? Here in Canada I had so many deduction (Tax, employee insurance, pension plan (which is not the same as pension saving it is money you give to the government to manager current time pensions), parental deduction (even i have no kids haha), mandatory health insurance). in the end all adds up quite a lot of money removed from the paycheck sigh! :D
 

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Thank you everyone for you reply this is very good information!

escapedtonz was 450 + tax for the both fillings or just per one?
I had to do 2 fillings in Canada without insurance some time ago and it cost me around 400 cad $.. not cheap at all :(
In Canada I had to have private health insurance through work (was not even able to refuse it) and for one person it was between 50 and 100 dollars.. and for two people it would be twice more. It was pretty good one though so it was worth the pay.. but still not so cheap when you pay every month.

I have an unrelated question, do you get to pay other deductions than taxes and accidental health insurance from you paycheck? Here in Canada I had so many deduction (Tax, employee insurance, pension plan (which is not the same as pension saving it is money you give to the government to manager current time pensions), parental deduction (even i have no kids haha), mandatory health insurance). in the end all adds up quite a lot of money removed from the paycheck sigh! :D
The cost was for both fillings.

The only mandatory deductions from salary are income tax and acc contributions.
You can opt in to Kiwisaver assuming your employer offers it. This is a savings scheme for your retirement years and anybody would be daft not to opt in as you get free money from the government. They'll give you an initial $1000 at set up then a bonus per year assuming you invest the minimum amount per year. Assuming the employer offers contributions to the scheme you can invest up to 8% of pay and your employer may match contributions up to 4%
 
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