When a friend or loved one is in need, no one hesitates to call an ambulance so help arrives as soon as possible. While an ambulance may seem like a necessary service in many situations, it’s a service that isn’t actually covered by Australia’s public health system. And while no one ever regrets calling an ambulance in emergency circumstances, receiving an unexpected bill for hundreds of dollars shortly after enduring a medical emergency is rude discovery, indeed.
Research by Finder.com.au found that nearly one in three Australians wrongly believes ambulances are free under Medicare, and of the 2,085 people Finder surveyed, 30 per cent wrongly believed ambulance costs are wholly subsidised by the government. The only situation that allows you free access to ambulance services in Australia is if you are a holder of a concession or health card. In fact, 21 per cent of respondents in another Finder study have called an ambulance for a non0life threatening issue, potentially incurring an expensive and unnecessary bill.
“This research shows that many Australians think that, like other essential medical expenses, the cost of using ambulance transport is covered by Medicare, and unfortunately this isn’t true,” says Bessie Hassan, insurance expert at Finder.com.au. “While some states do cover ambulance callout costs, most don’t, and it can cost thousands in some cases.”
The real cost of ambulance callouts in Australia
$1,776 for an emergency (rural), $1,204 if you’re not rural.
$976 for an emergency, then $5.60 per kilometer
$967 for an emergency.
Australian Capital Territory
$959 for an emergency, then $13.00 per kilometre travelled outside the ACT
$790 for an emergency, then $5.10 per kilometre
New South Wales
$382 for an emergency, plus $3.44 per kilometre
Queensland & Tasmania