Understanding ambulance costs in Australia can be particularly confusing. Depending on where you live, services may come as a premium. In other states, services may be free for residents. For a majority of Australians, ambulance costs aren’t something you think about when you take out an insurance policy but many experts are suggesting that you should consider some form of ambulance cover when you purchase insurance. Here are the ins and outs of ambulance cover around Australia.
Where Are Free Ambulance Services?
If you live in Queensland or Tasmania, you have reason to celebrate: For you, ambulance costs are covered in the event that you require emergency services. The State Government covers these costs, but it does come with a catch. Unless you’re an actual resident of either of these two states, your ambulance costs will not be handled by the government. This is bad news for visitors but is promising for residents.
Unfortunately, the free services typically stop there. You’ll still want to take out a comprehensive insurance policy but you won’t have to factor in ambulance cover when you’re making a decision. This will save you some money in the long run, especially if you were considering policies that cost more as a result of bundled ambulance services.
It’s also important to know that these two states have some issues when it comes to reciprocal costs. If you’re on holiday and require emergency services in a different state, you may find yourself on the line for the ambulance bill. Even for a Tasmanian on holiday in Queensland—where both provide free ambulance services—insurance may not cover the cost. Read the fine print of your policy to understand where you stand when it comes to reciprocal costs.
Ambulance cover is also free for pensioners and low-income earners below a certain threshold in the NT, ACT, New South Wales, and Victoria. For other Australians, there will still be costs, either assessed per-kilometer or by a flat rate.
Private Insurance Or Out-Of-Pocket Costs?
If the government wanted to take it easy on you, the remainder of Australian states would have a common ambulance cost, right? Sadly, that’s not the case. Costs vary from state to state so it’s important to understand the regulations where you live. Depending on your state of residence, the ambulance cover will either be handled by private insurance or will be an out-of-pocket cost for which you’ll be solely responsible. For example, in Western Australia, any and all costs associated with emergency services with be paid by the patient themselves.
It’s also important to understand the per-kilometer fee a little more. Typically, they’re based on a round-trip basis which is the trip from the ambulance station to the location of the emergency and then back to the station. This is particularly important for New South Wales residents who either aren’t under the income threshold or don’t receive a pension.
Choosing The Right Policies
In some states, there’s no getting around it: If you’re faced with an emergency, you’re going to be on the hook for the bill. Private insurance only goes so far in some regions of Australia so it’s critical that you understand your liabilities and know the limitations of your insurance policy. However, for other residents where services come at a premium, it can be incredibly beneficial to bundle your ambulance cover with your policy. If you’re struggling to choose the right policy, there are tools that can help. Find the best ambulance cover for you with iSelect. The service makes it much easier to compare policies that fit your unique healthcare needs. Don’t go without proper coverage. Search for a policy that fits you today.