As promised, here is my post on ambulance charges from state to state in Australia. Between the two of us, me and Google know everything! As my knowledge on ambo fees is restricted to Queensland, I turned to Google for the rest.
First, I downloaded a 21 page document from the Victorian Ambulance Service detailing who is responsible for ambulance charges. And there isn’t a single mention of costs whatsoever. It only answers the question about who pays the charges depending upon the type of journey, for example a journey could be from the community to a public hospital, or from a public hospital to a private hospital, or from a nursing home to a private hospital etc.
Oh dear, it’s going to be a long day. But here is what I came up with.
This post was written 4 December 2009 so some of the information may be out of date. If I hear of any changes, I do add an update message to the relevant state, but I can’t guarantee this post is always right up to date with the correct information. If any of you reading this discover anything that’s now incorrect, please do add a comment below to let us know. Many thanks, Bob
Here in Queensland we used to pay for our ambulance services by way of a levy which was paid each quarter, rather bizarrely I think, as an additional charge on our electricity bills. It was called “Community Ambulance Cover” and cost around $24 per quarter. That changed in 2011 and now “Permanent Queensland residents are automatically covered for emergency pre-hospital ambulance treatment and transport Australia-wide.” Nice!
In New South Wales it will cost you $301 for the ambulance to turn up and $2.72 for every kilometre travelled after that. But this is just for a standard taxi, sorry I mean ambo. More complicated pickups, I mean medical attention, could cost anything up to $5,000.
Tasmania quote an average of $690 per journey but say that depending on the complexities, it could be as high as $4,000. I believe they are looking at introducing an annual levy as opposed to an individual service charge per use, just like we have here in Queensland. Some places suggest that ambulance services are free to Tasmanian residents, so perhaps that levy has already been introduced.
Victoria ambo fees apparently start at just over $700 and can rise to a maximum of $12,000. Victoria, more expensive than every else again!
Western Australia quote fees of $288 or $475 depending on priority but of course you won’t get an air ambulance for that.
Australian Capital Territory quote around $214 for pickup and that includes the first 16 km of your journey and then seven dollars per kilometre thereafter for emergency ambulances. Routine ambo services are slightly cheaper. But for $54 a year you can have family cover with the ACT Ambulance Subscription Fund.
South Australia fees have (apparently) recently risen from an average of around $600 to more than $900, but even these fees may vary depending on priority at the time of dispatch.
Northern Territory charge to $285 callout plus $4 per kilometre for routine ambulance services, but this callout fee rises to $625 for emergencies. But for both, the first 10 km of travel is “free”. But $80 buys you a family annual subscription to the St John’s ambulance service in Northern Territory.
Of course, you can pay for insurance to cover any ambulance fees and, I believe, get a 30% rebate on the premium if you are eligible for Medicare benefits. I have seen quotations as low as $50 for family cover (after the rebate) for a whole year.
This seems pretty good value under the circumstances, especially for the surfers of Australia. If you’ve just had your leg chewed by a four meter shark and find yourself in the embarrassing position of turning down an air ambulance and saying “It’s okay mate, I’ll get the bus” then I’m pretty sure at some point during that bus journey you’ll be wondering why you never paid the premium.
I think that’s enough talk about ambo fees for now. It’s not been an easy subject to research and I can’t guarantee the accuracy of each of the figures above. But I’m sure you get the idea.
This is the idea I got.
If you come here to live in Australia, whichever state you decide to live in, get insurance to cover your ambulance costs. Then you can forget about $300 or $12,000 or whatever. Cover will cost you between $50 and $100 per year for you and your family. Pay it and forget it.
Or move to Queensland and pay it with your electric!
From the 1st July 2011 the Community Ambulance Cover Levy was abolished and all Queensland residents now enjoy free Ambulance cover throughout Australia without the need to pay a levy.