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UPDATE: Check out our 2018 emergency ambulance article for the latest figures and facts.
You might not realise it, but if you don't have private health insurance when you need to call an emergency ambulance, you'll probably have to pay a hefty fee.
In Australia, Medicare doesn't cover the fees associated with an ambulance ride – and in the 2016/17 financial year, the average emergency ambulance claim amount for nib customers was $874 – not exactly loose change!
The amount you'll be billed for an ambulance differs from state to state and there are a few exemptions and exceptions, particularly if you live in Queensland or Tasmania, so if you want to know exactly what you'll have to fork out, it's always best to head to your state government website.
However, to get you started, we've created an easy guide that will help you understand how much an ambulance could cost you in each Aussie state and territory.
The average emergency ambulance claim amount for nib customers in FY16/17was $874
If you're a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card holder (or you fall into any of these categories), you won't have to pay for your NSW ambulance trip, whether it's by road, fixed wing aircraft or helicopter (or a combination). For those in NSW who aren't exempt, you'll be charged with a call-out fee, as well as a fee charged per kilometre of the round trip of travel (from ambulance station to pick-up address, destination and ambulance station return).
If you're a NSW resident, your call-out fee can be up to $372, plus $3.35 per kilometre, regardless of whether you require transport by road or air.
Good news, Queenslanders; your state automatically covers you for emergency pre-hospital ambulance treatment Australia-wide. This means, wherever you are in the country, you won't have to pay for an ambulance, so long as you can prove you're a permanent Queensland resident.
If you are a Queensland resident and receive an invoice for emergency treatment from another state, you are requested to forward the invoice to Queensland Ambulance Service for payment.
If you need an ambulance in Victoria, you can expect to pay up to $1,776 for emergency road transport and much more for air transport.
For South Australians needing an emergency ambulance, there's a call out fee of $955, plus a per kilometre charge of $5.50.
For those needing an ambulance in our Capital Territory, you can expect to pay upwards of $936.
The cost of an ambulance in the Northern Territory is based off a call-out fee, as well as a per kilometre charge. The minimum cost to a patient is generally $790.
Tasmanian residents can rest assured that the Tasmanian Government will cover any emergency ambulance costs for them in Tasmania, so long as a third party payment (for example, motor insurance) isn’t available.
The government of Tasmania has made agreements with most Australian states and territories, so if you’re a Tassie resident visiting the mainland and require an emergency ambulance, you can simply forward your invoice to Ambulance Tasmania and they’ll organise it on your behalf. However, if you’re visiting South Australian and Queensland, you’ll have to be prepared to cover the costs yourself, as the agreement doesn’t extend to these two states.
If you're not a resident of Tasmania and you’re visiting the apple isle, you’ll be required to cover the costs of any emergency ambulance you require (so long as you don’t have a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card).
Regardless of where you're from, the last thing you want to worry about in an emergency situation is the cost of your ambulance. At nib, we believe that health cover should be simple, smart and value for money; so, we offer a range of policies that cover emergency ambulance. Make sure you have the peace of mind that comes with nib private health insurance by viewing your current nib policy online or calling 13 16 42.
All information accurate as of 26 Feb 2018