Ambulance Cover In Western Australia

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Updated 26/04/2024
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Written by

Francis Taylor

Updated 26/04/2024

What changed?

Reviewed by Dr Jill Gamberg and tip added, fees and referencing style updated.
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

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I need cover for…

Ambulance Cover in Western Australia as part of your health insurance
Who provides ambulance services in Western Australia?
How does Ambulance Cover work in Western Australia?
What kinds of private health cover include Ambulance Cover in WA?
Ambulance Cover call-out fees in Perth
How do I know if my private health insurance includes Ambulance Cover?
Do pensioners get free or discounted ambulance cover in Western Australia?
Confused about ambulance cover in your state?

Ambulance Cover is handled a little differently across Australia, with each state and territory working to their own ambulance arrangements. However, something that’s consistent regardless of where you live is that ambulance treatment and transport can be costly. 

The last thing you want to be worrying about during a medical emergency is the cost of treatment and transport. Many people don’t realise that even if you’re able to be treated on the scene, and don’t require ambulance transport to a hospital or other medical facility, you’re still liable to pay a callout fee. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the person being treated – rather than the person who called for an ambulance – is responsible for the bill. 

Ambulance Cover in Western Australia as part of your health insurance

In WA, the charging model for the ambulance service depends on whether you’re treated in Perth or a country location. St John Ambulance operates a “user pays” system in Western Australia, so unless your private health insurance policy covers ambulance services, you’re liable for the bill. 

While many health insurance funds provide ambulance cover as part of their policies, there are often restrictions or limits. For this reason, it’s worth comparing a range of policies and providers with iSelect and confirming what you’re covered for. 

Those living in regional WA can arrange for country Ambulance Cover directly with St John Ambulance, that is, if Ambulance Cover is not part of their health fund offering. 

Who provides ambulance services in Western Australia?

St John Ambulance, a not-for-profit organisation, has provided WA’s ambulance service for more than 130 years.  

Their service covers the largest area of any ambulance service in the world – more than 2.5 million square kilometres or 33% of the total landmass of Australia. 2St John Ambulance – Ambulance and Health Services

In 2023, St John provided 265,354 emergency ambulance services (priority 1-3) across WA.3St John WA – Annual Report 22-23, pg 26 

How does Ambulance Cover work in Western Australia? 

The WA ambulance service operates differently in metropolitan and country areas. If you live in Perth, St John Ambulance operates a “user pays” system which means calling for an ambulance comes at a cost to the patient. 

Fees vary depending on the nature of the callout, ranging from $609 for a patient transfer vehicle to $1,133 for urgent or life-threatening incidents.4St John – Ambulance Fees For Perth residents, the only way to avoid being liable for these fees is to ensure you have ambulance coverage via your private health fund. Direct membership with St John Ambulance is not available in metro areas.  

Membership costs for residents in regional or remote Western Australia range from $64-$85 for singles, and $107-$141 for families.5St John – Country Ambulance Cover  

If you live in country WA, the cost of your ambulance trip is covered if you have (or your family) Comprehensive Country Ambulance Cover, which includes unlimited emergency and non-emergency transport, one of your family members require.

Helpful Tip:

Hopefully, you’ll never be in a situation where you need an ambulance—but you should always be  prepared. This can be as simple as writing up a list of emergency contacts, including your close friends or immediate family members. As well as your insurance provider, ambulance services, and medical information. Making a written list and putting it in your wallet, or typing it up in your phone, will also ensure it’s always on-hand.

Having these contacts at your fingertips can help speed up communication during emergencies. That way, you can ensure help arrives as quickly as possible if you ever need it.

Dr. Jill Gamberg

GP and Lifestyle Coach

What kinds of private health cover include Ambulance Cover in WA? 

In WA, some providers offer Ambulance Cover as part of their Hospital, Extras, and Extras Cover (Ambulance Only). 

There may be variations in waiting periods and cover for interstate travel. As always, read through the terms and conditions of your policy to be sure.

Ambulance Cover call-out fees in Perth 

Fees for calling an ambulance in Perth can vary depending on the nature of the call-out.  

You can check with your private health insurer to see if they provide any cover. If not, coverage fees are your responsibility. 

Service Fee6St John WA – Ambulance Fees
Life threatening (Emergency – Priority 1) $1,133 
Urgent (Priority 2) $1,133 
Non-urgent (Priority 3) $609 
Patient Transfer Vehicle (Booked Priority 4) $609 

How do I know if my private health insurance includes Ambulance Cover? 

Many health funds offer Ambulance Cover as part of their policies, however it can still be tricky to know exactly what you’re covered for. Some funds provide cover for all ambulance travel, while others have restrictions – for example, they may cover you only in the state you live in, or they may not pay for treatment by an ambulance paramedic which doesn’t result in transport to a hospital. Quite often, some levels of hospital cover will only cover you for emergency ambulance services which can catch a lot of people out.  

If you’re not sure whether your private health insurance includes ambulance cover, you should contact them directly to check. You can also compare a range of policies and providers with iSelect. Note, if you’re purchasing ambulance cover through iSelect, it will be through a Hospital and/or Extra package from our range of providers and policies as we do not offer ‘ambulance only’ policies.

Do pensioners get free or discounted ambulance cover in Western Australia? 

Yes. WA Full Aged Pensioners are entitled to free ambulance transport where it’s deemed medically necessary, except if they’re being transferred between hospitals where one or both facilities is a private hospital. 

WA residents who are aged 65 and over but do not receive a Centrelink pension can get a 50% discount on their ambulance account. 

Pensioners who’re under 65 and receive a Disability, Single Parent or Carers pension may also be entitled to a 50% discount on ambulance services. Health Care Card holders are not entitled to any discounts or concessions. 

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold or White Card holders are covered for ambulance services in every state of Australia by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Confused about ambulance cover in your state? 

The structure and charging model of Western Australia’s ambulance service can be confusing. If you live in Perth where it’s a “user pays” approach, it’s essential that you understand whether adequate ambulance cover is part of your private health insurance policy.  

Contact your health fund directly to confirm you’re covered, or call iSelect on 1800 784 772 to compare a range of policies and providers.

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