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How Much Does An Ambulance Cost in Australia?

How Much Does Ambulance Cover Cost in Australia?
Megan Fraser
Megan Fraser Updated: 16 September 2021
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In Australia, ambulance trips aren’t covered by Medicare and while it’s free in some states, other Australians can be left with hefty invoices. Amounts for ambulance costs vary widely from state to state, but patients may have a few options available to them if they are looking into covering their own expenses.

This article is designed to help you navigate the world of ambulance cover in Australia, helping you learn about the various state costs and regulations. Remember to review and compare prices in the various regions when purchasing ambulance cover.

Key facts

  • Ambulance services are not free of charge in every state of Australia.
  • Only citizens of Tasmania and Queensland can receive ambulance cover from the government.
  • The maximum cost of ambulance services can amount to well over $6000.00.
  • The patient who requires the ambulance service has to cover the costs of the services.

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What is the cost of being transported in an ambulance in Australia?

Ambulance transport in Australia is not cheap. Whether you are a single person or have the whole family in tow, ambulance cover can help reduce stress and save money. In Victoria, emergency road transport costs $1,200 on average. However, an annual membership of just over $50 for individuals is available to those who qualify.

Average costs of ambulance transport

ServiceCall out feeCost per KilometreMax Charge
Road ambulance emergency$967$5.60$6,571
Road ambulance non-emergency$320$5.00$6,668
Fixed-wing emergency$407$3.67$6,668
Helicopter emergency$407$3.67$6,668

Ambulance cost in Australia by State

In 2017-18, there were 3.7 million emergency incidents recorded in Australia and 4.3 million ambulance service responses attended to 3.2 million patients across the country — that’s a whole lot of people relying on this crucial service we often take for granted.

Ambulance costs vary depending on which state you reside in. In some states of Australia, such as Tasmania, you will not have to pay for any ambulance services. However, in South Australia, for example, an emergency call-out fee is around $1,064.

ambulancecare

Ambulance cost NSW

In July 2020, residents of New South Wales will have to pay for emergency ambulance calls. They are charged 51% of the total charge and must cover $403 plus an additional fee per kilometre travelled.

If you have hospital cover in New South Wales your emergency transportation is covered by the Ambulance NSW levy. Pensioners and concession cardholders can get free access to most ambulance services while students are covered with group contributions or school coverage

Ambulance fees SA

South Australian residents who are interested in owning an ambulance subscription can purchase one from the South Australia Ambulance Service. A single person could pay $88.50 for a year-long plan, including interstate coverage, at no additional cost. However, if you don’t have this option, it’s possible to fork over money upwards of 1K just for emergency services. 

If you hold an SA Pension concession card, expect only to spend about $53.00 per month. Ambulance services include:

Ambulance Victoria cost

Victorians can purchase ambulance cover through membership with Ambulance Victoria. With a 1-year membership, you will pay $48.35 for the first year and then annually after that unless otherwise stated in your contract agreement. If you hold a concession card, it’s free to get clinically necessary ambulance cover by just registering on their website. 

If you are not eligible for fee exemptions from supporting health funds or private insurance companies, consider purchasing one of these plans as they are an additional cost of around $120/month. Victorians can purchase emergency medical services coverage by joining up with Ambulance Victoria, which provides memberships starting at about $48.00 each month.

Ambulance Queensland

The Queensland government pays for emergency ambulance services in the country, not just their own. To be covered by this service, you must prove that your primary residence is located in Queensland. Ambulance services of all kinds, including emergency treatment and non-emergency transportation, are free and covered by the government.

Ambulance cost 1

Ambulance fees WA

In Western Australia, residents who want ambulance cover must purchase health insurance that includes it. Residents over 65 with an Australian government pension are entitled to free emergency and non-urgent ambulance services. If you don’t receive a government pension at this age but are still over 65 years old, you’re eligible for 50% off the cost of medical transport within your region or between two regions in WA state.

A private ambulance service is available for those who live south of the 26th parallel and north of it costs $75.00. In Perth, St John Ambulance operates a “user pays” system, so you need to have health insurance if you don’t want to pay for ambulance services.

Ambulance cost NT

NT residents can access St John Ambulance NT services without subscribing if they hold a current Centrelink or Health Care Card. As long as you have an NT Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care card, there is no cost to becoming an active St John ambulance volunteer.

Ambulance Tasmania

The State Government of Tasmania covers ambulance services to all Tasmanian residents within the state and its islands who require treatment/transport by ambulance. Ambulance transport in other states is also covered under reciprocity agreements with most Australian territories, except Queensland and South Australia. The government reimburses patients for any costs from interstate hospitals that are not paid out-of-pocket or through their insurance policies upon submitting an invoice covering payment conditions such as preauthorisation.

The State Government of Tasmania covers ambulances to those residing on mainland Tasmania, including offshore islands like Flinders Island. This includes a reciprocal agreement between jurisdictions meaning that Tasmanians can cover fees associated with using emergency medical care outside jurisdiction borders if needed.

ACT Ambulance cost

Most Health Care Concession Card and Pensioner Concession cardholders are entitled to free emergency ambulance services within the ACT. Additionally, there is a reciprocal agreement in place with all states and territories – except for QLD, SA and WA – through which you can have your interstate ambulance services covered by the ACT government.

The ACT Ambulance Service does not offer ambulance-only cover, so you’ll need private health insurance or an ambulance-only membership.

Do I need ambulance cover?

If you live in one of the many states where ambulance insurance is not mandatory, it may be a good idea to purchase cover. Given that this form of emergency service can cost upwards of thousands if not tens-of-thousands dollars depending on factors like location and severity, it’s best to have protection regardless. It’s also important to keep in mind that Medicare does not cover ambulance costs.
It’s worth checking with your state/territory ambulance services as well as private health funds for any changes or updates regarding coverage before applying for an alternate provider just because they’re more affordable.

Frequently asked questions and answers.

  • Is ambulance free in Aus?

    Australian ambulance costs are only free if you are a Tasmanian or Queensland citizen. If you live in any other Australian state, ambulance cover is not free. Since Medicare does not cover ambulance costs, it’s important to review purchasing health insurance or ambulance cover to ensure you do not have to pay the expensive ambulance bills when it comes to emergencies for you and your family.
  • How much does it cost to send out an ambulance?

    The cost of ambulance services varies between states and territories. For example, in New South Wales an emergency road transport will attract a call-out fee of $401.00 plus a variable charge per kilometre starting from $3.62 within the metropolitan areas. In Western Australia, it costs $1,006.00 for a life-threatening emergency overall fee, while costing $494.00 for transport to the hospital. The cost for a call out ambulance fee depends on which state you reside in. However, it’s recommended that you take out ambulance cover to avoid paying the large bills.
  • What happens if you don’t pay the ambulance bill Australia?

    If you do not pay the invoice from NSW Ambulance by its due date, you will send an overdue notice from the Healthcare Authorities. They will also give you a visit and collect payment on your behalf. It’s, therefore, of the utmost importance that you pay your ambulance fees. It’s also recommended that you take out an ambulance or health insurance to ensure you can cover ambulance costs.
  • Who pays when an ambulance is called?

    The patient that requires the ambulance is responsible for paying the ambulance service’s bill. If you call an ambulance on behalf of another person, you will not be responsible for paying the bill.

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