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

5 minute read
an ambulance driving with lights and sirens

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 25% of Australians who think Medicare will cover the cost, you’re in for a shock.

For those who call Queensland or Tasmania home, your State Governments will pick up the bill. For everyone else, ambulance trips don’t come cheap.

The average ambulance claim for nib members in the 2016/17 financial year was $8741, and the most we paid for a member’s ambulance claim over the same period was $10,475. So, if you don’t have private health insurance, you might have to pay a hefty fee.

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.

New South Wales

If you’re a NSW resident, you’ll be charged a call out fee of $382 plus an additional charge of $3.44 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.

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.

Victoria

If you need an ambulance in Victoria, you can expect to pay $1,234 for an ambulance trip in the city and $1,820 if you’re in a regional or rural area. If you need transport via the sky, you’ll be paying $2,959 for a plane trip and up to $26,197 for a helicopter. That’s not exactly loose change!

South Australia

If you’re a resident of South Australia, you can expect to pay a call out fee of $976 for an emergency ambulance, plus a per kilometre charge of $5.60.

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 $967.

Australian Capital Territory

For residents of our nation’s capital, you can expect to pay at least $959 for your emergency ambulance, plus $13 for every kilometre travelled outside the ACT.

Northern Territory

The minimum cost of an ambulance in the Northern Territory is $790, which is based off a call-out fee and a per kilometre charge.

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 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 24 hours of an accident at a hospital emergency department, you’ll receive benefits in-line with our best level of hospital cover for the following 90 days.2

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, we offer a range of policies that cover emergency ambulance. 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 2016 and June 2017 (excluding TAS and QLD residents). 2Excludes consult at an Emergency Department. Accidental Injury Benefit criteria must be met for approval.

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