Financial Support

Arthritis NZ understands that navigating the financial aspects of your health journey can be overwhelming. Depending on the type and severity of arthritis you have, you may have new regular costs associated with your diagnosis and how it impacts your day-to-day life. We’ve put together some of the common services that can help mitigate these costs and tips for avoiding full charges for some services. 

High Use Health Card

health card

The High Use Health Card (HUHC) provides a general practice a larger government subsidy to assist patients with high health needs.

The HUHC may reduce the cost of:

  • fees for after-hours general practice visits
  • visits to a general practice where the individual is not enrolled – check this with the practice.

Some practices may charge a lower fee to enrolled patients with a HUHC – talk to your doctor or nurse about whether this is the case for you.

Who can get it?
To be eligible for this card you need to have visited a health practitioner at the general practice you are enrolled in 12 or more times in one year; with the consultations being related to a particular condition or condition(s) which are ongoing. This card is not income tested.

The general practice will have a record of visits, and the doctor will need to make the application on the patient’s behalf for a HUHC. The card lasts for one year, after which time a new application can be made (if appropriate).

I already have a Community Services Card (CSC), do I need this as well?
For patients with a CSC, the subsidy for prescription fees and doctor visits for non-enrolled patients is the same.

However, for patients with a HUHC, there is an advantage in also having a CSC, because the CSC enables enrolled patients to get lower cost fees and also gives subsidies to dependent family members.

Talk to your GP about the High Use Health Card.

Community Services Card

Community health card

The Community Services Card can help you and your family with the costs of health care. This means you could pay less on some health services and prescriptions.

Who can get it?
If you are a NZ citizen, permanent resident, or have refugee status. Work and Income will automatically send the CSC to people who receive some benefits that make them eligible. Others can apply for the CSC if they meet the full criteria which takes income into account among other things.

Visit Work and Income for the full eligibility criteria and how to apply 

National Travel Assistance Scheme

care plus

The National Travel Assistance Scheme helps people financially who are referred by their specialist to see another specialist, and need to travel long distances or travel frequently. The specialists must both be part of a government-funded health and disability service. The policy on which the scheme is based is the National Travel Assistance (NTA) Policy 2005.

Who can get it?

You may be eligible for travel assistance if:

You’ve been referred to the specialist you’re going to see by another specialist (not a GP)and
Both specialists are publicly funded – that is, they are part of a government-funded health and disability service (for example, a renal dialysis centre or a specialist disability service)and
You can answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions in the National Travel

Assistance Questionnaire:
1. Do you travel more than:

80 km one way per visit (for a child)?
350 km one way per visit (for an adult)?
2. Do you visit a specialist 22 or more times in two months?

3. Do you visit a specialist six or more times in six months, and travel more than:

25 km one way per visit (for a child)?
50 km one way per visit (for an adult)?
4. Are you a Community Services Card holder and travel more than:

25 km one way per visit (for a child)?
80 km one way per visit (for an adult)?

How do I get it?
Get registered
Your hospital travel coordinator, health or disability specialist, or nominated social worker will need to help you register for travel assistance. They’ll send the completed registration form to Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand.
Te Whatu Ora will assess your application.
If you’re eligible, a confirmation letter, along with blank claim forms, will be sent to your mailing address.

You then will need to submit a claim.
Read more to find out about the program.


care plus

Care Plus funding is provided to general practices to improve chronic care management, reduce inequities, improve primary health care teamwork and reduce the cost of services for high-need patients.

Benefits: This can vary between clinics.
In general, a Care Plus patient can expect an initial comprehensive assessment where their health needs are explored in more depth. An individual care plan should be developed to set realistic, achievable health and quality of life-related goals, with regular follow-ups. People using Care Plus will get effective management of chronic health conditions, better understanding of their conditions and support to make lifestyle changes.

Who is eligible?
This service is for people who would benefit from more intensive care at the GP clinic level of care. They need to have 2 or more long term conditions, or meet other specific criteria.

Read more to find out if you are eligible.

If you think this might be you, ask your GP about the Care Plus scheme.

Pharmacy Long-Term Conditions Service


This service is designed for people with long-term conditions who may need support with their medicines. An assessment is used to identify things that affect their ability to take medication as prescribed. Pharmacists work together with the patient to address each issue. The pharmacist can assist with managing and coordinating medications so that prescription repeats happen simultaneously, requiring only one trip to pick up prescription medicines. They can also provide a reminder service (via text message, email or phone call) to let you know when your next supply of medications is ready for collection.

What is a long-term (also called chronic) condition?
A long-term condition is any reoccurring health condition that lasts for a long time rather than something that arrives and leaves in a short amount of time (like a cold or flu). They are usually complex and comprise more than one health issue. While they often come on gradually, they can also have acute episodes. Long-term conditions can affect your quality of life through physical limitations and day-to-day activities. These include cardiovascular disease (e.g. stroke and heart failure), cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and musculoskeletal disease, and mental health problems.

How can I access this service?
All pharmacies offer a long-term conditions service. If you have difficulties managing your medicines (e.g. forgetting to take them), please ask your pharmacist about this service.

Prescription Charges


From July 2023 prescriptions will be free everywhere. This will help increase access to medicines in NZ for all and in particular those who have regular medication costs and who struggle to afford their medications. You can already get free prescriptions at some pharmacies, and at others it is $5 per new prescription item, up to a maximum charge of $100 in one year.

Save money by making a phone call for repeat prescriptions

Certain repeat prescriptions may be issued by your clinic without you having to visit in person. Your repeats are often listed on your initial prescription, but if you lose the bit of paper, no worries, you can make a call to your GP and they can re-issue the repeat to your pharmacy. This is at your doctor’s discretion and only applies to some medications. Other medications, like antibiotics or anti-depressants, will require an in-person visit. If you haven’t seen the doctor in person for a while, they may need to book a visit for you before repeats can be issued again over the phone.

Internet Access – Zero Data 


Zero Data is available to anyone using a mobile device connected to the Spark, Skinny, One NZ, 2degrees, Warehouse Mobile, Slingshot or Orcon mobile networks. The purpose of Zero Data is to ensure all New Zealanders can access essential information and digital services. 

If your mobile device is connected to a participating network, none of the mobile data you use when you visit websites through Zero Data will count against your data cap or incur any charges. All data usage will be charged back to the government agencies that sponsor the websites you visit. 

All you need to do is make sure your mobile data is turned on before you visit Zero Data. You’ll know you’re on Zero Data when you see a green ribbon across the top of the website. 

Zero Data brings all New Zealand’s sponsored websites together in one place and makes it easy for you to know exactly when you’re using Zero Data. The range of information and services available through the homepage will increase over time as more government agencies get involved. 

Zero Data


For an exhaustive list of all things finances and health and disability in Aotearoa, visit the
New Zealand Government website 

Translate »