How To Protect Yourself From High Ambulance Costs In Australia

Accidents happen, and always when you least expect it. One moment you are driving along enjoying your day, and the last thing you see is another vehicle ramming you from the side! The next thing you know you wake up in a hospital bed. It may be a blessing that you don’t remember much about the crash, and the subsequent ambulance ride, but you will be reminded of that ride when the bill comes, and it’s a whopper! As an Australian living in a country where Medicare provides you with your basic healthcare, it’s reasonable to expect it would include ambulance services- it doesn’t! The harsh reality is that calling and using an ambulance will cost you in most states, and the fees quickly run into hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars! A well meaning Good Samaritan called the ambulance for you after your crash, but it is always your responsibility to pay that bill!

It is a sad state of affairs that the responsibility for paying ambulance services in Australia differs in every state or territory and, with the exception of Queensland and Tasmania where those costs are covered by the state government, not having the proper insurance will stick you with the bill. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this sad state of affairs from happening to you in the future! The way to protect yourself from this disgraceful and unethical practise is to take out an ambulance cover onlyinsurance policy that will protect you from those unfair charges! 

Let’s take a moment to review the situation as it stands- 

Non-emergency vs emergency ambulance – Even in the event of a life threatening emergency, lifesaving ambulance services are not free! Currently there is no national scheme to help citizens pay for the terribly high costs of emergency transport and ambulance services to a hospital. Some states and territories do very kindly provide subsidised or free services for non-emergency transportation to eligible patients, like those who have a chronic medical condition or are receiving ongoing medical treatments. Please note that these are the exceptions, not the rule!

Private health insurance ambulance cover subscriptions – There are options for ambulance cover available from some state-based subscriptions, and private health insurers to provide you with protection against the exorbitant out of pocket fees that most ambulances charge you across the nation. If you aren’t eligible to acquire a state-based subscription (most of the country!) then private health insurers are your only option. The cover available differs with every policy, there can be limitations on benefits, and certain use restrictions based on hospital policies. It’s critical that you be aware of exactly what your own health fund covers in order to understand what ambulance cover may be available to you, and what you need to acquire privately for yourself.

Another thing to note is that air ambulance cover might not be included under some policies, or may have restrictions that apply, an issue of great importance if you live in a far flung rural area. 

We hope this helps you better understand the ambulance cover situation in Australia so you can better protect yourself!

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