Queensland has a lot going for it: warm weather, beautiful beaches and free ambulance services for every resident. That’s right—the State Government actually covers the cost of emergency ambulance transport for Queenslanders.1
It’s a pretty great deal, and its why so many Private Health insurers don’t actually offer ambulance cover to residents of Queensland because it generally isn’t required. But it’s still worth digging a little deeper into the topic to find out how the state ambulance services work and how far your cover can go.
The Queensland Ambulance Service prioritises emergencies. Residents receive emergency pre-hospital treatment and transport free-of-charge.
The fees for non-emergency transport are also covered. So, if you need to be taken to a medical facility, you might also be able to hitch a free ambulance ride. However, there usually needs to be a good reason behind it.2 For instance:
For non-emergencies, you’ll also need your doctor to sign a medically authorised transport request. Otherwise, the Queensland Ambulance Service may refuse to send out the ambulance.3
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) provides all emergency and non-emergency ambulance transport in the Sunshine State.4 These fine folks operate under the Queensland Government’s Department of Health and provide one of the largest ambulance services in the world.5
However, while the ambulance ride might not cost you a cent, it could be a different story once you arrive at the hospital. If you choose to get treated as a private patient, then you could end up with some steep, out-of-pocket expenses. This is where Private Hospital Cover can be particularly useful, as an eligible policy can help cover the costs of your treatment.
Getting treated as a public patient in a public hospital is also an option. If you opt to go public, then all your in hospital treatment costs will be covered so long as you hold a Medicare Card.6
Queensland is a pretty popular place for other Australians to visit. Melburnians and Sydneysiders are partial to taking a break from their sub-zero weather and enjoy some sun for a change!
Unfortunately, visitors to Queensland may get hit with a big bill if they ever need to use the ambulance services there. We’re talking hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars just for a trip to the hospital.7
|Ambulance Transport Type||Cost|
|Emergency||$1,459.09 (flat rate)|
|Non-Emergency||$540.49 (first 50 kms) + $2.19 per extra km|
Heck, for interstate visitors just to get treatment in an ambulance and not even need a lift to the hospital, it could still cost more than a hundred dollars at minimum. And the cost really blows out to well into the thousands for visitors who do actually need to be taken to the hospital!8
|Ambulance Treatment (No Transport)||Cost|
|Travel Costs (No Callout)||$20.14 per km|
Yes, these costs are definitely steep for any sun seeking tourist looking to visit Queensland. However, certain people might also be exempt from having to pay them9, including:
Private health insurance is also an option for those visitors who normally live in different States and Territories. So long as your policy covers you for interstate ambulance services, you can forward the QAS invoice to your insurer for payment.10
Okay, so let’s say you’re a Queensland resident visiting another State or Territory. Suddenly, you fall sick or get injured and need to use the local ambulance services. What happens next?
Well, first of all, we hope you feel better soon! Secondly, there is some good news: Queensland residents are covered for free emergency ambulance services across Australia. Any children or dependents you have will also be covered.11
You’ll just be required to forward your ambulance invoice to the QAS. They’ll also require some proof that you were a resident of Queensland at the time, for example, a driver’s licence, bank statement or statutory declaration.12
Queensland is pretty exceptional. Besides Tassie, they’re the only State that offers free ambulance services for all residents.
If you live anywhere else in Australia, then chances are that you’ll need to pay for an ambulance if you ever need emergency services somewhere down the track. Although you can avoid this if you take out Ambulance Cover through a private insurer (or with your state ambulance service).13
Certain people, like those who hold a Pensioner Concession Card, might also be eligible for ambulance services at a reduced cost—or no cost at all. Check out our main article on Ambulance Cover to find out how it works in your State or Territory.
Many insurers offer Ambulance Cover as part of their Hospital or Extras Cover. Comparing policies from different providers can also be a great way to find suitable cover at an affordable price.
iSelect can help here, too. You can compare Health Insurance policies from a range of providers using our online comparison tool*. Or, if you prefer, give our friendly team a call on 1800 784 772. It may only take a few minutes to find a great deal!
1 PrivateHealth.gov.au - Ambulance
2 Queensland Government - Non-emergency medical transport
3 As above
4 Queensland Government - Queensland Ambulance Service
5 Australian Paramedical College - Queensland Ambulance Service: The Fourth Largest of its Kind
6 Australian Government | Department of Health and Aged Care - Out of pocket costs
7 Queensland Government - Queensland Ambulance Treatment and Transport
8 As above
9 As above
10 As above
11 Queensland Government - Interstate Ambulance Treatment and Transport Information for Queensland Residents
12 As above
13 PrivateHealth.gov.au - Ambulance
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