Like all states, when it comes to emergency treatment and transport South Australians aren’t covered by Medicare. And although life in SA is pretty great, with the hustle and bustle of Adelaide and the natural beauty of the Borossa, it’s important to consider your options when it comes to emergency Ambulance Cover.2
This means that if you ever need an ambulance for an accident or emergency, you could be left with a thousand-dollar bill. Fortunately, Ambulance Cover is available in South Australia to help cover some of these costs.3
The SA Ambulance Service provides emergency ambulance attendance, treatment and transport – which can include non-urgent transport to all South Australians.4 The service received more than 200,000 calls in 2020-2021,5 including around 600 triple zero (000) calls every day.6
The SA Ambulance Service offers Ambulance cover as a tiered scheme. Standard Ambulance Cover protects you for any emergencies within South Australia, or you can opt to add interstate coverage for an additional $17.50 per year for singles, or $34.75 per year for families.7
If you are without Ambulance Cover, and living in South Australia, calling out an ambulance comes with a hefty fee. But with the right kind of cover you may avoid having to fork out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars for a single trip to the hospital.
So how much can you save? Well, let’s compare the cost of a single ambulance trip8 with the cost of cover from the SA Ambulance Service:9
|Without Cover||Standard Single Cover|
|Emergency Transport||$1137 + $6.50 p/km||$96.50 per year|
|Non-emergency Transport||$254 + $6.50 p/km||$96.50 per year|
When you take out Ambulance Cover with the SA Ambulance Service, the amount you pay will also be determined by the type of cover you choose.10 For instance:
|Standard Cover||Standard Cover plus interstate|
|Single||$96.50 per year||$114 per year|
|Family||$192 per year||$226.75 per year|
|Pensioner Single||$58 per year||$75.50 per year|
|Pensioner Family||$115 per year||$149.75 per year|
You might even be able to find Ambulance Cover from a Private Health insurer at an even lower cost each year. However, before you do, be sure to check out the policy brochure. This document will let you know if there’s a limit to the amount you can claim, number of claims you can make per year, whether non-emergency trips are covered and whether you can make a claim for interstate transport.
Standard Ambulance Cover with the SA Ambulance Service includes all emergency and non-emergency ambulance attendance within South Australia for permanent SA residents.11 Members are covered from the day after the date of joining for emergency transport, and two months after the date of joining for non-emergency transport.12
Each health fund treats Ambulance Cover a little differently, which means that even if you have private Health Insurance, your policy might not cover ambulance services. Some policies will only cover you and your family for emergency ambulance services, which doesn’t include patient transport that’s classified as “non-emergency”, such as clinically required transfers between medical facilities or trips to undergo medical testing.
If you’re unsure about whether your private Health Insurance policy includes Ambulance Cover, we recommend that you contact your health fund directly to check if you’re covered, and your level of cover.
If your private Health Insurance policy only covers you for emergency treatment and transport, you will more than likely still be required to pay for any non-emergency ambulance transport.
Did You Know?
Around a third of all ambulance transport provided by the SA Ambulance Service is classified as non-emergency,13 and the cost of non-emergency transport starts from $254 per trip.14
In such cases, the SA Ambulance Service also offers Ambulance Cover Extras. Unlike the standard cover they offer, this only provides cover for clinically necessary non-emergency transport, though the two-month waiting period still applies.15
Ambulance Cover Extras is charged at $25.25 per year for singles and $51.50 for families. To add interstate non-emergency cover to your Ambulance Cover Extras membership is an additional $17.50 for singles and $34.75 for families.16
Yes, pensioners living in South Australia should organise for Ambulance Cover through their private health fund or directly with the SA Ambulance Service. Pensioners receive discounted membership with the SA Ambulance Service, from $58 for singles and $115 for pensioner families.17
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Health Card holders are also covered for ambulance services in every state of Australia by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.18 However, keep in mind that restrictions and conditions may apply.
Understanding how Ambulance Cover is treated in your state can be tricky. If you’d like to learn more about purchasing Ambulance Cover as part of your Private Health Insurance feel free to call us on 1800 784 772.
1 Australian Government | Productivity Commission - Report on Government Services 2023: 11 Ambulance services | Size and Scope (Table 11A.4: Cell U29; U66; U103; U140)
2 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
3 PrivateHealth.gov.au - Ambulance
4 SA Ambulance Service - FAQs
5 Government of South Australia - SA Ambulance Service: 2020-2021 Annual Report (Page 16)
6 Facebook - SA Ambulance Service Official Page
7 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
8 SA Ambulance Service - Fees and charges
9 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
10 As above.
11 As above.
12 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
13 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover Extras
14 SA Ambulance Service - Fees and charges
15 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
16 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover Extras
17 SA Ambulance Service - Ambulance Cover
18 PrivateHealth.gov.au - Ambulance
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