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Ambulance Information

 

Each Australian state has a different policy regarding the use of Ambulance services.  This creates a problem if you are spending any time outside your own state (your principal place of residence) OR if you've sold up, no longer have a principal place of residence, and are travelling around.  Our research has found that individual situations are assessed on merit.  However, please read the information provided by each State service.  No Boundaries  is continuing research into these anomalies for the benefit of all travellers and will update as new information is received.  Even though we endeavour to provide the best information, No Boundaries  can not be held responsible for misinformation - we provide what is sent to us by each State service for this page.  We advise you check with your local Ambulance Service, and Healthcare Fund (get it in writing!) and establish what cover is required for your own needs and situation.

The following information is as received to date.

Victoria  
"If you require emergency road transport, the base cost is $735.00.  If the Air Ambulance (including the helicopter) is necessary for an emergency, the total cost can be as high as $12,000.00*
If you are a member of Ambulance Victoria, you are covered for -:
All emergency Ambulance transport
All MICA (Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance) attendance and treatment
All Air Ambulance transport
All non-emergency Ambulance transport*
        From hospital to home and home to hospital
       From hospital or home to treatment facilities and return
All Ambulance transport and treatment services provided by interstate services

For more information www.ambulance.vic.gov.au

*Additional costs may apply and costs may vary between metropolitan and rural Victoria.

Western Australia

Ambulance transport in Western Australia works on a user-pay basis. The costs for ambulance use are as follows:
Priority One (life threatening emergency) $738.00
Priority Two (Urgent, but not life threatening) $738.00
Priority Three (Non-emergency transport) $398.00
Priority Four and below (Booked, routine transport) $398.00
WA residents over 65 years of age, set $281.00
 
If you hold ambulance cover, available in the Country areas through local St John Ambulance Sub Centres or in the metropolitan area through a range of private health insurers, you will be covered for most ambulance transport. However some private insurers do charge a co-payment for non-urgent transport. You must check your policy conditions with your insurer.

It's important to remember that the cost of ambulance services is not covered by Medicare. Nor will you be reimbursed if you hold a Healthcare, Pharmaceutical or Pensioner Benefit card.  However St John does offer a 50% discount on ambulance transport accounts for current disablity cover, aged or single parent pension card holders.

Policy cover only applies if you have purchased ambulance cover insurance with a private health insurer or regional St John Ambulance W.A. sub centre.
 
For the St John Ambulance policies that are available in regional W.A. you must hold this policy to be covered in W.A. If you are not a resident of W.A. but have purchased cover with another insurer you need to ensure it has Australia wide coverage.
 
In regards to private health insurers and the person having no fixed address this would need to be addressed directly with the private health insurance company to find out the conditions of the policy". If you have travel insurance it may be good to check whether Australia wide ambulance transport is covered under the policy.

If you receive free transport in your state, contact them to see if you are covered interstate.

For more detailed information, please refer to St John Ambulance website: www.stjohnambulance.com.au


Queensland
Under the Community Ambulance Cover, all Queensland residents are automatically covered for pre-hospital ambulance treatment and transport to hospital.

Queensland residents travelling interstate
If you are a Queensland resident and you receive an invoice for pre-hospital medical care provided to you by another State/Territory Service, you are requested to forward the invoice, along with evidence that you were a Queensland resident at the time of the interstate treatment/transport to :

Queensland Ambulance Service
Governance and Management Services Unit
GPO Box 1425
BRISBANE QLD 4001

The Queensland Ambulance Service will then make the necessary arrangements for the invoice to be paid on your behalf.  Evidence required as proof of Queensland residency is as follows:

If you are an adult

  • A copy of current photographic identification which includes the current principal place of residence in Queensland.  For example, a a drivers licence; or

  • A copy of a current statement from a bank or financial institution showing the current principal place of residence and the name of the institution.  Please ensure that the period of the statement covers the date of ambulance treatment/transport provide; or

  • A copy of a current Queensland Seniors Card showing the name and card number recorded with the Department of Communities; or

  • A copy of a current Queensland issued Centrelink Pension Concession Card; or

  • A copy of a Queensland issued Centrelink Health Care Card; or

  • A statutory declaration, which includes the current principal place of residence in Queensland.

Dependent/Child of a Queensland resident

Please include evidence that the child is your dependent.  You are requested to provide a copy of one of the above mentioned documents and one of the following documents as evidence of a dependent/child's dependency.

  • A copy of a current Medicare card with the child/dependent's name; or

  • A copy of the child/dependent's birth certificate; or

  • A copy of a current Student Identification card for the child/dependent

Full Time Students studying interstate
Full time students studying in another State/Territory and are under the age of 25 years, whose parents are Queensland residents, are covered by the Community Care Ambulance Cover.  However, part-time students studying in another State/Territory are not covered under the Community Ambulance Cover.

Queenslanders injured in another requiring ambulance transport back to Queensland
Under Community Ambulance Cover arrangements, Queensland residents who are incapacitated due to illness or being injured while travelling interstate are covered for emergency pre-hospital ambulance services anywhere in Australia.

Secondary transfer requests such as requests to relocate a patient to their residence are not considered emergency transport.  Such transfers are currently met through private travels insurance arrangements, by private health insurance or by private means.  The need for interstate repatriation is accessed on the basis of urgent medical or clinical necessity.  

To be eligible for interstate transfers under the Community Ambulance Cover arrangements, a patients transport must be referred by a medical practitioner.  These types of transfers would only be considered where in the opinion of a treating medical practitioner, the ongoing care of a patient would be compromised if they were not returned to Queensland.

The clinical necessity of the transfer is determined by the QAS Commissioner, on advice from the QAS Medical Director.  For example, a Queenslander resident in an interstate hospital who is receiving appropriate medical treatment would be deemed not eligible for interstate repatriation, if the request is solely based on a desire to be treated in a Queensland hospital.

Further, QAS will not automaticly provide interstate repatriation back to Queensland on convalescent or compassionate grounds.

Visitors to Queensland
The Community Ambulance Cover only applies to individuals whose principal place of residence is in Queensland.  If an interstate or international visitor requires ambulance services whilst visiting Queensland they will be charged for those services in accordance with the Ambulance Service Regulation 2003

The Queensland Ambulance Service recommends that interstate visitors to Queensland contact their State/Territory ambulance service, or a health fund, to make enquiries regarding ambulance coverage whilst visiting Queensland.  International visitors to Queensland should establish contact with a travel agent.

Further details on the Community Ambulance Cover is available at www.ambulance.qld.gov.au or by telephoning the QAS Community Ambulance Cover hotline 1300 369 003

New South Wales
NSW has provided 4 links.  Further info may be obtained from www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au   

Fees and charges Q&As  http://www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/docs/090630fees.pdf

Patient Hardship Policy document  http://www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/docs/community/090904hardshippolicy.pdf

Fact sheets http://www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/media_publications/publications.html  

Subscribe to the quarterly e-newsletter. http://www.ournewsletter.org/news/nswambulance/

Australian Capital Territory  

What are the current ambulance fees & charges?
Ambulance fees and charges are approved by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and are reviewed annually.  The fees and charges below are current as at 1 July 2009.  Check our website for the latest information. http://www.ambulance.act.gov.au

Emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) $750
(+ $10/km for every km outside the ACT)
Emergency ambulance service (treatment not including transport)   $522
Non-emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) by Intensive Care Paramedic resource    $537
(+ $10/km for every km outside the ACT)
Non-emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) by Patient Transport Service resource    $196
(+ $4.10/km for every km outside the ACT)

Why do emergency ambulance services cost so much?
Ambulance fees and charges reflect the cost of providing a quality and responsive ambulance service by intensive care paramedics 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What if I didn’t call the ambulance?
Although you may not have requested an ambulance personally, an ambulance was called on your behalf and the service was delivered.  ACT Legislation places a legal obligation on the person receiving the ambulance service to pay the account.

What if I wasn’t transported to hospital?
Response of an emergency ambulance delivers highly skilled Intensive Care Paramedics and advanced medical equipment to the scene.  There is a cost in delivering this service, even if you are not subsequently transported to hospital.

Will Medicare cover ambulance accounts?
Medicare does not cover the cost of the provision of ambulance services.

How can I insure to cover the cost of ambulance services?
1.    Private Health Insurance

If you have ambulance cover with a registered health fund in the ACT then you should be covered for ambulance services however it is strongly advised that you check the policy with your registered health fund.

2.    Ambulance Only Cover

The ACT Ambulance Subscription Scheme is no longer administered by the NIB Health Fund, members of the public can compare registered health funds at the government initiative website www.privatehealth.gov.au

 “Ambulance only cover” can be subsequently purchased from your preferred provider by contacting them.

Are pensioners entitled to free ambulance services?
ACT Pensioner Concession and Health Care Cardholders (valid at the time of service delivery) are entitled to free emergency ambulance services within the ACT.

When interstate, ACT Pensioner Concession and Health Care Cardholders are entitled to free emergency ambulance services from an approved ambulance provider only if that state participates in reciprocal arrangements with the ACT.  It is strongly recommended that you check your entitlements prior to travelling interstate by contacting the ACT Ambulance Service on (02) 6207 9980.

What if I received an account but I am entitled to free ambulance services?
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, you will be sent an ambulance account when you are entitled to free ambulance services.  Perhaps you were too ill for the relevant details to be collected by our intensive care paramedics, or your details were incomplete or illegible when the account was processed.

If you are an ACT Pensioner Concession or Health Care Cardholder, please photocopy your pension or health care card and return a copy with your ambulance account to the address provided.

If you have private health insurance or ambulance only cover, please have the account endorsed by your health fund and return to the address provided.

Third party Liability
Ambulance services are charged to a third party in the following instances:

Description Liable Party

Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) entitlement card*   -   DVA

Transport between two public hospitals  -  Initiating hospital

Transport from a public hospital to an external diagnostic facility   -  Initiating hospital

*Individual entitlements should be confirmed with DVA as some transports must be approved by DVA prior to being booked.

What if ambulance services were provided as the result of a road traffic crash in the ACT?
ACT Residents travelling in a motor vehicle are covered for emergency ambulance services within the ACT through the road rescue fee levied on vehicle registration. This does not cover incidents with personal liability of injury or damage to a third party such as a pedestrian.

What if ambulance services were provided as the result of a workplace accident?
In certain circumstances compulsory third party (CTP) or workers compensation insurance may cover the provision of ambulance services.  For further information please contact your insurance company or your employer.

All enquiries should be directed to the Ambulance Finance Section on 02 6207 9980 or 02 6207 9990.  

South Australia
Ambulance transport in South Australia (SA) works on a user-pay’s system.

The fee for an ambulance service is payable by the patient transported to, or from a hospital, surgery or other place whether or not he or she consented to the provision of the service’

The cost for an emergency ambulance is around $600.00 depending on the priority at time of dispatch.

Ambulance Cover is intended for permanent residents within SA. Non-SA residents should contact either their private health fund or own State or Territory ambulance service, to check the level of cover they have prior to travelling.  International visitors should arrange the necessary travel insurance.

South Australian Ambulance Cover members are covered for:

For additional information on our terms and conditions, and on subscription prices for Ambulance Cover and our other products, please refer to our website www.saambulance.com.au

Northern Territory

ACT      An ambulance subscriber – obtain membership details - account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            A pensioner - after sighting valid card, account covered under a reciprocal arrangement
            All others, the patient is liable.

NSW    An ambulance subscriber – obtain membership details - account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            A pensioner - after sighting valid card, account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            All others, the patient is liable.

QLD     Require proof of residency and then account sent to Qld Ambulance.
            For a pensioner - require proof of residency and then account sent to Qld Ambulance.
            All others the patient is liable.

SA       Obtain membership details – account sent to SA Ambulance.
            For a pensioner – need copy of valid card  then account sent to SA Ambulance.
            All others the patient is liable.

TAS      Require proof of residency and then account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            A pensioner - after sighting valid card, account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            All others the patient is liable.

VIC      An ambulance subscriber – obtain membership details - account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            A pensioner - after sighting valid card, account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            All others the patient is liable.

WA      An ambulance subscriber – obtain membership details - account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            A pensioner - after sighting valid card, account covered under a reciprocal arrangement.
            All others the patient is liable.

 

Tasmania has failed to respond to our request for info

More updated info will be posted during Jan/Feb 2010 as we have requested each state to send us current information

 

More to be posted as we receive it

 

Updated 21/02/2010

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