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Ambulance Service and Cover while travelling Australia
Each Australian state and territory has a different policy regarding the use of Ambulance Services and Cover. 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 sometimes assessed on merit. However, please read the information provided by each State service. We have endeavoured to provide the most relevant information. However, No Boundaries can not be held responsible for misinformation – we pass on the information that is provided by each State service on this page. We advise you to check with your state Ambulance Service, and Healthcare Fund (get it in writing!). Establish what cover is required for your needs and your situation.
Are you covered?
In summary, regardless of your home state situation, it would be wise to contact your state ambulance authority to establish your level of coverage in each state that you are intending to travel. After going through each of the state authority sites, we have found coverage information for travellers sometimes complex, sometimes non-existent.
If you have private health cover, ensure the provider does cover you regardless of the situation. Whatever your advice, get it in writing. That will be your only comeback if you find yourself in an adverse scenario. If you don’t have private health cover, an ambulance subscription might be a good safeguard. Like health insurance, some see it as just an added expense. Personally, we’d much rather pay for those eventualities that the travel gods have planned for us, but haven’t yet told us about! Also check the definitions of ‘free services’. Though mostly uniform across each state, there could be some other benefits that you may be entitled too.
Although the following linked Checklist is from the Victorian Ambulance website, it can be used to determine your needs regardless of which state you are from.
Our thanks to Ambulance Victoria: Ambulance Cover Checklist.
Policies from each state/territory indicate that Medicare does not cover Ambulance Services
(Some of the following are excerpts taken directly from each State Ambulance authority website, while others have been summarised.)
Permanent Queensland residents are automatically covered for emergency pre-hospital ambulance treatment and transport Australia-wide. Proof of state residence will be required.
If you are a permanent Queensland resident and receive an invoice for ambulance treatment/transport provided to you or your child/dependent by another state or territory ambulance service, you are requested to forward the invoice to the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) for payment. However, there are stipulations. QAS has provided a link to their Information page.
New South Wales
Permanent NSW residents are charged at 51% of the full rate of emergence ambulance services with the state government subsidies the remainder. However, there are circumstances where free services apply. Non emergency care is charged out at a different rate which is not subsidised.
A link to a Fact Sheet has been provided showing full details and circumstances.
Australian Capital Territory
Permanent ACT residents – on the surface, there seems to be a minimal amount of information for this particular service, even to a point that Western Australia does not exist! However, scrolling down the ACT Emergency Services Agency page, you’ll find drop down sub headings to the information you might be looking for. Take the time to have a good look around their site.
St John Ambulance provides emergency and non-emergency ambulance services to people in the Northern Territory. For the St John Ambulance Subscriber, there is absolutely no charge for emergency ambulance transport and therefore, no financial worries.
Holders of an NT Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card are not required to join our Ambulance Subscription Scheme. However, if they travel to Queensland and South Australia they are not covered for Ambulance transport.
Subscribers are covered Australia wide and are entitled to free emergency transport as many times as the service is justifiably needed medically.
Ambulance Victoria – Membership cover gives you protection against the cost of world-class emergency treatment and transport services delivered by our highly skilled and dedicated paramedics, and aided by state-of-the-art equipment and resources. As an Ambulance Victoria member travelling interstate, you receive the same benefits that you would have received if you had been in Victoria. Ambulance Victoria
The Western Australian service is also provided by St John Ambulance Service. The service appears to have two arms throughout the state – one for metro, and the other for country. There appears to be no ambulance subscription cover for the Metro Service as opposed to the Country Service, which offers different levels of subscription for members. It looks as though metropolitan users must rely on their health fund, if they have private health insurance, to provide payment. We could not find anything specific for travellers, so when planning a trip to WA, check with your health fund or state service to see if you are covered for emergency ambulance service. The best we can do at this time is to provide links to the two services. Metro Country
From 1 November 2016 South Australians continue to have access to interstate Ambulance Cover with the launch of a tiered scheme. Standard Ambulance Cover includes all ambulance attendance within South Australia, with interstate coverage available for an additional $15 per year or $30 for those on family plans. SA Ambulance Service has introduced two tiers of cover to provide members with greater control over the level of security they need. More info on SAAS cover page.