If you live in New South Wales (NSW) and require ambulance treatment or transport, it’s important to know that this service isn’t free of charge – you’ll need to pay a fee unless you’re eligible for an exemption, or hold an eligible private Health Insurance hospital policy or ambulance cover.
Having ambulance cover can give you the peace of mind that you’ll be protected should you need the services of an ambulance.
Ambulance cover reimburses you for the cost of ambulance transport and treatment1. It can be provided as part of your existing hospital cover, or as stand-alone ambulance cover.
Ambulance fees are based on a call out charge plus a charge per kilometre. In NSW, the state government doesn’t cover the full cost of ambulance services, but it does provide a subsidy – this means you’ll only be billed for 51% of the total charge if you don’t have a private hospital cover or ambulance cover2.
Here are the fees for road ambulance transport in NSW3, for emergency and non-emergency situations* (as of July 2022):
|Variable rate (per km)||$3.74||$2.02|
As you can see, ambulance services can become costly if you don’t have hospital or ambulance cover.
No, Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of ambulance services in NSW, or anywhere in Australia4.
In NSW, ambulance services are provided free of charge to holders of the following concession cards5.:
If you’re not eligible for a concession and would like to be covered for ambulance services in NSW, you’ll need to take out ambulance cover. This can either be through standalone ambulance cover, or it could be included in your private hospital cover.
Each ambulance cover policy comes with its own set of inclusions and conditions. Knowing what to look out for will help you select a policy that best suits you. This includes checking what you’re covered for, as well as any limitations or exclusions.
When choosing ambulance cover in NSW, it’s handy to consider the following:
Some policies will cover you in any state, while others will only provide cover within NSW.
Your policy may only cover you in emergency situations, so it’s important to check what you’re covered for and understand what an “emergency” means according to your policy.
Not all policies cover ambulance call-out fees, which may apply if you’re treated at the scene of the incident but aren’t transported to hospital.
Check which modes of transport are covered by your policy – some will provide cover for air ambulance and other state or private transport providers.
A waiting period may apply before you can use your ambulance cover, so take a look at the conditions of the policy when comparing them.
It’s important to check whether your policy covers you for the full amount of your ambulance costs, or whether you need to make a co-payment
Mark’s top tips for choosing ambulance cover
Here’s what Mark Pangrazio, iSelect’s very own Commercial Executive has to say:
If you’d like to find ambulance cover as part of your private hospital cover, start comparing health policies from iSelect's range of providers*. To find out more about choosing ambulance cover in NSW, contact our friendly team on 1800 784 772.
1 Commonwealth Ombudsman of Private Health Insurance - How Health Insurance Works, Ambulance
2 NSW Ambulance - Accounts and Fees
3 NSW Ambulance - Accounts and Fees
4 Commonwealth Ombudsman of Private Health Insurance - What Is Covered By Medicare?
5 NSW Government - Hospital and ambulances
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