, Costly error you can’t afford to make, The Nzuchi Times

Costly error you can’t afford to make

, Costly error you can’t afford to make, The Nzuchi Times

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There’s no way to predict when you or a loved one might need to call an ambulance.

When that time comes, the last thing you need is the stress of a hefty bill that could leave you thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of ambulance or emergency transport, which can leave people facing call out costs in some parts of Australia.

While Queensland and Tasmania provide free ambulance trips for their residents, Australians living in other states and territories have to pay unless they have ambulance cover as part of their private health insurance or pay for an annual ambulance subscription.

The majority of ambulance services across the country usually charge a flat rate with a capped per-kilometre fee when transporting patients from their pick-up destination to the respective hospital.

If you are travelling interstate and are unfortunate enough to need to call an ambulance, fees and charges vary depending on your home state.

Tasmania has reciprocal agreements with all states except South Australia and Queensland while Queensland residents are covered for ambulance services whether they are in or out of their home state.

This is what you need to know about ambulance costs in each state.

Ambulance costs in New South Wales

Residents in New South Wales pay 51 per cent of the cost of ambulance services with the State Government subsidising the rest of the bill, according to NSW Ambulance.

Residents who need road, fixed wing aircraft or helicopter emergency transport face a $401 call out fee and a travel rate of $3.62 per km. This includes the trip from the ambulance station to the pick up address, the destination and the trip back to the station.


Holders of some health care cards may be eligible for free ambulance services, including:

• Health Care Card

• Pensioner Concession Card

• Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card

• Department of Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card – also known as Gold Card

• Department of Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card – also known as White Card

Ambulance costs in Queensland

If you live in Queensland the good news is there is no cost if you need to call an ambulance. The State Government provides a free service for residents in the state and also covers the cost of emergency transport while travelling interstate.

To claim on an interstate trip, Queenslanders can just send the invoice to the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and they’ll cover the payment.

Ambulance costs in South Australia

South Australians in need of an ambulance will be left $1,044 out of pocket for an emergency call out – plus an extra $6 per kilometre travelled.

The hefty fees are based on the types of services provided to the patient which includes paramedics attending the scene and driving them to or from a hospital.

To alleviate out of pocket expenses, South Australians have the option to purchase a subscription with South Australian Ambulance service from $88.50 for one person or $104.60 for interstate ambulance cover.

A family subscription will set you back $176 or $208 Australia-wide for emergency and non-emergency ambulance transport.

The rate for a single pensioner that holds a SA Pension concession card starts at $53.50.

Ambulance cost in Western Australia:

Western Australians will be charged with a whopping $1,006 bill for calling an emergency ambulance or $541 for a non-urgent call.

Residents who are over 65 and receive a government pension are entitled to free ambulance services in Western Australia.

But if you’re over 65 and don’t receive a government pension a 50 per cent discount will be taken off the cost of ambulance services.

, Costly error you can’t afford to make, The Nzuchi Times

Alternatively, Country Ambulance Cover is available with St John Ambulance Cover WA with prices starting from $95 for a single person if they live south of the 26th parallel that includes all Perth Metropolitan areas.


Ambulance costs in ACT

If you’re an ACT resident, you can expect to receive a $982 fee for an emergency ambulance service that includes treatment and transport.

But once the vehicle travels outside the ACT, an extra $13 for every kilometre travelled will be added to the bill.

When someone calls an emergency ambulance and only receives treatment such as first aid or is administered medication an additional $681 fee will also be included.

If you hold an aged pension or health care concession card you may be entitled to free ambulance services within the ACT.

Ambulance cost in Tasmania

Tasmanians are one of the lucky states as emergency services are covered by the state government to any residents requiring transport or treatment by ambulance.

If any residents visit the mainland, emergency ambulance costs will be also be waived in New South Wales, Victoria, ACT, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

However, if residents or even pensioners visit South Australia or Queensland and require an ambulance they will be personally responsible to cover any costs.


Ambulance cost in the Northern Territory

The cost of an emergency ambulance will set residents back $815 followed by a $5.25 fee for every kilometre travelled greater than 10 km.

But residents in the Northern Territory can avoid paying hefty ambulance fees by getting coverage from a private health fund or becoming a St John Ambulance member.

A one year St John Ambulance subscription provides free emergency transport in ACT, NSW, TAS and WA for only $110 for a single person.

Anyone who holds a Centrelink Pensioner concession card, Health care card or Veterans Affairs Card may also be entitled to free ambulance transport.

How much does ambulance cover cost and how can you get it?

In Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and rural Western Australia, patients have the choice of purchasing an annual subscription or purchasing private health care. The fees for ambulance-only cover or ambulance subscriptions are comparable and reasonable: around $50 to $100 per year for a single person, and around $100 to $130 per year for a family depending on the state or insurer.

Residents of NSW, ACT and metropolitan Perth need private ambulance cover or they run the risk of paying expensive ambulance bills themselves.

In states that require ambulance cover or ambulance subscriptions, patients with concession cards will usually receive free ambulance care.

FAQs: Ambulance insurance

Does Medicare cover ambulances?

No, Medicare does not cover the cost of emergency transport or ambulance services to hospital but private health insurance can help alleviate the costs

Can you claim ambulance cover on tax?

Most health funds offer ambulance-only cover as an affordable, stand-alone product that can be purchased instead of hospital cover that can be claimed at tax time.

Does ambulance cover include helicopter?

Helicopter and fixed wing aircraft coverage is dependant on your insurance provider, so make sure to double check if they include air transportation in their ambulance cover.

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