Do You Need Ambulance Cover In Victoria?

Published: January 31, 2020

Whether you’re moving to Victoria or have been a lifelong resident, it’s important to learn about the region’s ambulance cover should an emergency arise.

The state of Victoria does not offer free ambulance cover. Residents usually need to purchase ambulance insurance or pay for the costly service from their own pocket. Although some residents may qualify for an exemption, you generally might want to consider applying for ambulance insurance either from Ambulance Victoria or a private health fund to protect you and your family from unexpected emergencies.

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How much does an ambulance call-out cost in Victoria?

Generally, the cost of ambulance cover in Victoria is determined by the type of transport you receive (land, sea or air) as well as your specific location. If you do not have any ambulance insurance, you can typically expect to pay around $1,265 for an emergency road transport from a metropolitan region (2019 to 2020 fee schedule).

If you live in a rural or regional area, ambulance services can cost upwards of $1,800. Air ambulance prices vary depending on whether you require transport via aeroplane or helicopter. A Victoria air ambulance helicopter call-out usually cost up to $26,852, and aeroplane transport can costs more than $3,033 (2019 to 2020 prices).

Who is exempt from paying ambulance fees in Victoria?

You may be able to qualify for free ambulance cover that provides transport to the nearest medical facility. People who may be exempt from paying the ambulance fees include:

  • Any person with a current Victorian Pensioner Concession Card and their children. However, spouses are not exempt.
  • Anyone with a Health Care Card as well as their dependent spouse and children.
  • Children with a Child Disability Health Care Card or Foster Child Health Care Card.
  • People who are required to be assessed or treated by mental health services under the Mental Health Act 2014, Sentencing Act 1991, or Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997.
  • Anyone seeking asylum from one of the 16 nominated agencies for asylum seeker support.

Where to purchase ambulance cover in Victoria?

Victorian Residents generally have the option of applying from ambulance cover. 1.Ambulance Victoria membership or a private health insurance company that provides ambulance services to Victorian residents.

Membership from Ambulance Victoria

Ambulance Victoria is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria. They operate in areas known as ‘Operational Boundaries’, which includes all of Victoria, as well as some regions of South Australia and NSW.

When you apply for ambulance cover Vic, your benefits are typically activated at 5 pm on the day after they receive your membership fee. However, transport for a pre-existing condition might require you to wait for 14-days after your application has been accepted.

The services generally provided include:

  • Emergency road ambulance transport.
  • Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance attendance and treatment.
  • Emergency air transport.
  • Clinically necessary non-emergency air ambulance.
  • Ambulance treatment without the need for transport.
  • Pre-approved clinically necessary non-emergency transport to the nearest hospital.

Membership fees

Your Ambulance Victoria membership cost usually depends on how long you want a membership for (quarterly, 1, year, 3 years or 5 years) and whether you’re applying for yourself or your whole family. For example, a single individual can expect to pay:

  • $12.09 for quarterly direct debits.
  • $48.35 for a 1-year subscription.
  • $145.05 for a 3-year subscription.
  • $241.755 for a 5-year subscription.

Source: Ambulance Victoria website (30 January 2020).

Victoria offers members the opportunity to pay online via direct debit or credit card or by sending in membership forms and fees by post.

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Do private health funds cover ambulance services in Victoria?

Yes, you can generally purchase ambulance cover as part of your Hospital or Extras policy, depending on the health fund and level of cover you choose. Alternatively, select insurers offer stand-alone ambulance cover options. You might want to request and compare quotes to find an ambulance policy that meets your requirements and budget.

Compare ambulance-only cover in Victoria

Ambulance-only cover Ambulance services Waiting period Monthly premium
Bupa Emergency Only Ambulance Unlimited emergency ambulance transport or on-the-spot treatment Australia-wide. None $4,70
Bupa Premier Ambulance Emergency ambulance transport, on-the-spot treatment Australia-wide and non-emergency ambulance transport, capped at $5,000 per year. None $13,05
CDH Ambulance Only Medically necessary ambulance services, inpatient transfers and emergency callouts without hospital admission. 7 days $5,64
HBF Urgent Ambulance Emergency treatment and road ambulance transport throughout Australia. 7 days $7,75
HCF Ambulance Only Unlimited air, land and sea emergency ambulance transport and treatment and up to $5,000 for non-emergency ambulance transport. Emergency transport: 1 day Non-emergency transport: 2 months $6,95
Peoplecare Ambulance Only Unlimited emergency ambulance cover and non-emergency ambulance transport. Emergency transport: 1 day Non-emergency transport: 1 day $5,65
Medibank Ambulance Only Emergency ambulance transport and treatment as well as treatment without transport to a hospital. 1 day $7,00
NIB Ambulance Only Ambulance transport in an emergency and hospital transfers. 1 day $6,20
Source: privatehealth.gov.au (5 Nov 2019).

Take note: The above information is based on a single adult living in Victoria, purchasing stand-alone ambulance coverage.

Things to consider when purchasing ambulance cover in Victoria

  • What is covered: Depending on the health fund and policy you are buying, you can generally apply for coverage for emergency transport and treatment, non-emergency transport and the attendance of a paramedic.
  • Exclusions: Depending on the plan you select; you may not be covered for certain benefits. For example, inter-hospital transfers and transport to facilities that are not to the nearest available medical facility. There may also be certain limitations on non-emergency transport.
  • Type of ambulance transport: Make sure you precisely exactly the type of ambulance coverage you can expect, for example, check whether your insurance covers land, air and sea transport.
  • Price: Consider the type of ambulance plan you require and what you can afford. Without ambulance insurance, in Victoria, you could pay up to $1,866 for a road ambulance call out.
  • Inter-hospital transport: In some instances, you might need transportation to a different hospital after reaching your first destination hospital. Ask your insurer whether this will be covered.
  • Australia-wide coverage: When you leave Victoria, your ambulance coverage may not cover you. If you frequently travel, make sure to choose a plan that offers coverage across Australia.
  • How to book an ambulance: Ask your health fund what the quickest and easiest way is to request ambulance services during an emergency.
  • Convenience of payment: Many health insurance providers who offer ambulance cover provide you with the option to pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Find out which options your insurer offers and the best way to make payment; direct debit, credit card or online.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Are pensioners covered for ambulance in Victoria?

Yes, generally, pensioners in Victoria will have access to free ambulance cover. However, they will need to present their Victorian Pensioner Concession Card before they are able to qualify for this concession. In most cases, all dependent children of pensioners are also entitled to free ambulance transfer.

Are non-Victoria residents covered for ambulance transport?

No, generally, people who are visiting Australia will be charged standard ambulance transfer fees. However, there are some exemptions. For example, if you have a private health insurance policy that includes Australia-wide ambulance cover, you might be able to forward your invoice to your health fund for payment.

Overseas visitors are also charged standard fees, but travel insurance could help you cover these costs. Visitors, overseas students and workers can apply for Overseas Visa Health Cover (OVC) which might entitle you to ambulance cover.

Are there any waiting periods on my ambulance cover?

Generally, health insurance providers implement a short waiting period for ambulance cover. This waiting period can be between zero and 14 days. It is also important to note that waiting periods differ from insurer to insurer, and you might have to serve a longer waiting period if you have pre-existing conditions.

Are newborn emergency transport services free in Victoria?

No, generally ambulance transfers for children are not free unless you qualify for a concession. For example, health care cardholders might be eligible for a concession on ambulance costs for their children.

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