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How much does it cost to call an emergency ambulance in my state?

5 minute read
an emergency ambulance driving with a tradie getting paramedic help

If you’re in an emergency situation with an ambulance on the way, you might be in for the most expensive ride of your life. And, if you’re one of the 30% of Australians who think Medicare will cover the cost, you’re in for a shock.

For those who call Queensland home, your State Government will pick up the bill. Tasmanian residents get a similar benefit with a few exceptions, as we have outlined below. For everyone else, ambulance trips don’t come cheap.

The average ambulance claim for nib members in the 2018/19 financial year was $9471, which is why it might be time to consider private health insurance, because without it, you might have to pay a hefty fee.

If you’re not covered by your State Government, nib offers unlimited emergency ambulance cover regardless of what Hospital or Extras Cover you choose, so if you sign up to nib wherever you are across Australia, you’ll get the help you need, when and as often as you need it – that's the bottom line.

The specific amount you’ll be billed differs state to state with a few exemptions and exceptions. To help, we’ve created an easy guide that outlines how much you can expect to pay in each state and territory across Australia.

Cost of an ambulance in NSW

If you’re a NSW resident you’ll be charged a call out fee of $401 plus an additional charge of $3.62 per kilometre (from the ambulance station to your pick-up address, to the destination and back to the ambulance station), regardless of whether you require transport by road or air. If you’re a pensioner or concession card holder (or if you fall into any of these categories), you won’t have to pay for your NSW ambulance trip.

Cost of an ambulance in Queensland

Queenslanders, you’re in luck. Your state has you covered when it comes to emergency pre-hospital ambulance treatment and transport Australia-wide. That means whether you’re on the Sunshine Coast or in Sydney, you won’t have to pay for an ambulance, as long as you can prove you’re a permanent Queensland resident.

Cost of an ambulance in Victoria

If you need an ambulance in Victoria, you can expect to pay $1,265 for an ambulance trip in the city and $1,866 if you’re in a regional or rural area. If you need transport via the sky, you’ll be paying $3,033 for a plane trip and up to $26,852 for a helicopter. That’s not exactly loose change!

Cost of an ambulance in South Australia

If you’re a resident of South Australia, you can expect to pay a call out fee of $1,044 for an emergency ambulance, plus a per kilometre charge of $6.

Cost of an ambulance in Western Australia

If you’re a Western Australian aged pensioner, you’re exempt from all ambulance costs. For everyone else in WA, your emergency ambulance can start from $986.

Cost of an ambulance in Australian Capital Territory

For residents of our nation’s capital, you can expect to pay at least $982 for your emergency ambulance, plus $13 for every kilometre travelled outside the ACT.

Cost of an ambulance in Northern Territory

The minimum cost of an ambulance in the Northern Territory is $815 and for every kilometre travelled greater than 10km, there’s a per kilometre fee of $5.25.

Cost of an ambulance in Tasmania

Tasmanian residents, you can rest assured that your State Government will cover the cost of an emergency ambulance in Tasmania, as long as a third party payment like motor insurance isn’t available. If you’re visiting the mainland, you’ll be covered in all states and territories except NSW, South Australia and Queensland.

Who pays?

For those who don’t live in Queensland or Tasmania, the costs associated with ambulance services – whether it’s an emergency situation or not, and regardless of who made the triple zero call – will be incurred by the patient.

What happens after you get to the hospital?

It’s not just the ambulance fees you have to keep in mind. While public hospital healthcare (including emergency treatment) is free to all Australian citizens and most permanent residents, if you need further treatment after your initial admission including rehabilitation, specialist appointments or surgery, that’s when the costs (and potential waiting times) could quickly add up.

nib offers extra protection against the unexpected with the Accidental Injury Benefit. If you’re an nib member and you seek treatment within 72 hours of an accident at a hospital emergency department, or with a medical practitioner like a GP, you’ll receive benefits in-line with our best level of hospital cover for the following 90 days if you are then admitted to hospital2.

Considering emergency ambulance cover?

With nib, there’s no need to be caught out by the cost of an expensive ride. We believe health cover should be simple, smart and value for money; so, all of our policies cover emergency ambulance if you’re not covered by your State Government. Regardless of where you're from, the last thing you want to worry about in an emergency situation is the cost of your trip.

Make sure you have the peace of mind that comes with nib private health insurance and get a quote today. For nib members, you can view your current nib policy online or give our team a call on 13 16 42.

1Average ambulance charge incurred by nib members between July 2018 and June 2019 (excluding TAS and QLD residents). 2Excludes consult at an Emergency Department or with Medical Practitioner (e.g. GP). Accidental Injury Benefit criteria must be met for approval.

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