GUIDES & RESOURCES

Ambulance Cover In Australia

Ambulance cover can seem a little confusing, but it’s well worth getting right. There were 4.8 million ambulance call outs in Australia across 2018-19, showing just how many people rely on our emergency services.
Ambulance first responders with stretcher

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Ambulance cover is treated differently in almost every state, and additionally, if you have private health insurance, there’s a possibility that your policy limits, excludes, or caps ambulance cover.

Separate ambulance cover in Victoria could cost around $49 for a single person, and $97 per year for a family. Depending on what level of Ambulance coverage you need, you could save money by including ambulance cover within your health insurance policy.

What is Ambulance Cover?

In an emergency, calling 000 and the resulting trip to hospital are traumatic enough, but imagine receiving a bill afterward. This is where ambulance cover comes into play, often covering expenses like hospital transport and being treated by paramedics. When sickness or injury strikes, our Australian emergency services have your back, but in the heat of the moment, you don’t want to have to worry about the potential bills that could follow calling for help.

Ambulance cover helps reduce the stress of the whole ordeal, helping to cover any large bills left when the dust settles. The cost of an emergency road transport in Victoria can be over $1,200, while membership in States like Victoria, can cost as little as $49 annually for a single person.

What are the benefits of having Ambulance Cover?

One of the most important things to remember about Ambulance services is that they’re not covered by Medicare. This includes both emergency transport and other ambulance services which you may need.

The main benefit of having Ambulance Cover is that it insures you against the costs of ambulance services. For example, the average cost of emergency road transport by ambulance is $1,200 in Victoria.

Does health insurance include Ambulance Cover?

How a private health insurance policy treats Ambulance Cover differs with each provider. For example, some funds provide cover for all ambulance travel, whereas others may only cover the costs of emergency transport to the nearest hospital, ground travel, or include other limitations.

An example of a limitation is where your policy only covers you for emergency transport to your nearest hospital. After initial diagnosis of your injuries, you may choose to be transferred to another hospital. As this is not an emergency transport you may not be covered by your private health.

Another example of a limitation is when a policy doesn’t cover ‘call out’ fees or “on the spot treatment”. These are when an ambulance treats you at the scene but doesn’t transport you to hospital. For this reason it’s important to get clear on the details of your Ambulance Cover within your health insurance policy.

ambulance cover australia

Will my Ambulance Cover still apply if I’m interstate?

As mentioned earlier, depending on which state you live in, you may not have 100% Australia wide ambulance cover, or you may not have ambulance cover at all.

In Queensland and Tasmania, Ambulance Cover is covered by the state Government (but only if you’re a resident). Therefore, if you live in VIC, NSW, SA, NT, ACT, or WA, you’ll need to purchase Ambulance Insurance either through a private health fund, or through a state ambulance service. However, Ambulance Cover in Victoria is free for pensioners and low-income earners.

Whether you qualify for a discount, and whether or not you need cover at all depends on the state you live in. Therefore, it’s important to remember that in many cases Ambulance Cover only applies while you’re in your home state, and may not apply if you’re interstate. You’ll need to review the individual aspects of your policy to better understand how your cover is affected by interstate travel.

Ambulance Cover and Health Insurance

  • Interstate Travel: One consideration is if the policy covers you when travelling interstate.
  • Non-Emergency Cover: Another one is if the policy only covers you for emergency situations, or if it also includes coverage for non-emergency situations. Different health funds can define an “emergency” differently, so this is something you’ll want to get clarity on.
  • Call-Out Fees: As mentioned before, some policies may or may not cover you for the “call-out” fee. So it’s important to discover how your policy covers you if you require just ambulance treatment, and not transportation.
  • Other Considerations: Lastly there are three final points to consider in relation to Ambulance Cover. The first is if there are any waiting periods. Secondly, you need to discover if there are any co-payments towards the ambulance fee? Thirdly, you need to find out if the Ambulance Cover will also cover air ambulance, as well as transports provided by State-approved private providers, or other private providers.

What’s the cost of Ambulance Cover?

Like we discussed earlier, ambulance costs can vary from state to state. The table below breaks down the various costs of emergency transport. This gives you an idea of what you could pay if you’re not covered, and you require emergency ambulances services. It’s important to remember that the figures below are the base costs for getting an ambulance and you could be charged a lot more. For example in NSW the call out fee for an emergency is $401 but the maximum you could be charged for an ambulance transportation is $6,571.

State

Emergency Transport

Charge Per KM

 ACT

 $982

+$13/km for every km travelled outside the ACT

 NSW

 $401

 $3.64 variable rate p/km

 QLD

 FREE

 NA

 VIC

 $1,265 (metro) and $1,866 (for regional)

 NA

 SA

 $1044

 $6

 WA

 $986 (for life threatening- urgent conditions)

 NA

 TAS

 FREE*

 NA

 NT

 $815.00

 $5.25 per km

Disclaimer: All above information has been sourced from Australian state ambulance authority websites. Figures are accurate as of 1/10/2020

Are you eligible for free Ambulance Cover in your state?

Each state offers different Ambulance Cover concessions. For instance, pensioner concession card holders are often granted free ambulance cover. Additionally, residents in Queensland and Tasmania have state funded Ambulance Cover. Take a look at the table below to the view the arrangements for your state.

State

Concession Ambulance Cover Arrangements

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Most Health Care Concession Card and Full Aged Pensioner Concession Card holders are entitled to free emergency ambulance services within the ACT. However, if you’re not eligible for a concession and you’d like Ambulance Cover, you can purchase it from a private health fund, or through the state ambulance service.
New South Wales (NSW) Some free ambulance transport services are available to Health Care Concession Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Gold Card and White Card holders. However, if you’re not eligible for a concession and you’d like Ambulance Cover, you can purchase it from a private health fund, or through the state ambulance service.
Northern Territory (NT) If you’re a Pensioner Concession Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holder then you’re entitled to free ambulance transport services within the Northern Territory. However, if you’re not eligible for a concession and you’d like  Ambulance Cover, you can purchase it from a private health fund, or through the state ambulance service.
Queensland (QLD)  Queensland residents aren’t charged for ambulance services. The state government covers these costs.
South Australia (SA) If you’d like Ambulance Cover, you can purchase it as part of your health insurance policy, or through the state ambulance service.
Tasmania (TAS) Tasmanians aren’t charged for ambulance services, which are covered by the state government. Additionally, as a Tasmanian your ambulance costs are also covered in other states with the exception of NSW, SA, and QLD
Victoria (VIC) If you’re a Pensioner Concession Card and Healthcare Card holder, then you’re entitled to free clinically necessary ambulance services in Victoria. However, if you’re not eligible for a concession and you’d like Ambulance Cover, you can purchase a health insurance policy that includes ambulance cover, or through the state ambulance service.
Western Australia (WA) If you’re an Aged Pensioner concession holder, then you’re possibly entitled to free or reduced fee emergency ambulance transport services. However, if you’re not eligible for a concession and you’d like Ambulance Cover, you can purchase a health insurance policy which includes ambulance cover, or through the state ambulance service.
All Of Australia If you’re a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holder, then you’re covered for emergency and some non-emergency state ambulance services in every state by the Department.

 

Would you like to learn more about Ambulance Insurance?

If you’re thinking of purchasing a health insurance policy which includes some ambulance coverage, feel free to give us a call on 13 19 20. We’d be happy to walk you through options available from our range of policies and providers.

*The provision of ambulance cover when using ambulance services will be subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.

Sources:
1. http://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2017/health/ambulance-services
2. https://www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/membership/
3. https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/hospitals-and-health-services/patient-care/ambulance-and-nept/ambulance-fees
4. https://https://www.esa.act.gov.au/emergency-services/ambulance/fees-and-charges
5. https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/emergencies-services/interstate-ambulance-treatment
6. http://www.saambulance.com.au/ProductsServices/Ambulancefees.aspx
7. https://stjohnwa.com.au/ambulance-and-health-services/metro-ambulance-service/metro-ambulance-fees
8. https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/ambulance/fees_and_accounts
9. https://www.stjohnnt.org.au/ambulance/ambulance-cover.php

Last updated: 6/10/2020

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