I didn`t need travel insurance or a large wallet to be taken to the emergency room. I could have invented too much fun in a hospital bed (or at least a waiting room) instead of a wicker chair in a hotel lobby if I had known that New Zealand had these wonderful things called mutual health agreements with Australia and Britain. New Zealand and Australia have a mutual health agreement, which means that New Zealand citizens travelling to Australia are entitled to limited subsidized health services for the necessary medical care during a visit to Australia. The mutual health agreement includes necessary medical treatment. The necessary medical treatment is any illness or injury that occurs while you are in Australia and requires treatment before returning home. You pay a reduced fee if you register with a firm. You can only register if you are entitled to publicly funded health services. An Australian citizen or permanent resident who has been in New Zealand for two years or more or who can prove that he or she intends to stay in New Zealand for two years or more is entitled to all publicly funded services and may register with a PHO and receive the same health grants as a full person. In the case of Australia, travellers are entitled to medical care. You have to take care of diseases or injuries that can`t wait for you to come home (such as the crash of a staircase) and care that covers Medicare, the universal health care system funded by Australia. Fortunately, the rescuers were on hand to sort me out, but instead of bandaging my bloodied scalp, Blue`s boys assumed I was in a fight and knocked me to the ground instead. Welcome to Queensland! From the back of the police car, when they kept asking if I wanted to be taken to the hospital, all I could do was hang out: “I don`t have travel insurance.” As I said, teenagers are idiots. Josh Martin is a Kiwi journalist living in London who writes about travel, tourism, the economy and consumer issues between trips to places you`d rather be.
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