In this day and age, health insurance is is becoming more valuable as health care costs rise. As the cliché goes, “Health is wealth,” and like any other valuable asset, your health should always come first.
Australia has a nationwide public health insurance system in the form of Medicare. Unfortunately, while Medicare covers your basic medical costs, it doesn’t include ambulance service. This is something you’ll have to pay for on your own. Private health insurance policies, on the other hand, may include ambulance service, depending on the insurance plan you have and the state you’re living in. To clear up any questions regarding ambulance cover in Australia, here’s a quick state-by-state guide.
For Victoria, you need to be subscribed to Ambulance Victoria in order to qualify for free ambulance transport in case of emergencies, paramedic care and even air ambulance services throughout the country. Ambulance Victoria has subscription packages for singles, families and corporations so that if you’re in this state, you can select which works best for you.
South Australia has the South Australian Ambulance Service, to which you need to subscribe if you want cover for emergency ambulance transport services and pre-paid emergency care throughout Australia 24/7. The basic ambulance cover is for emergencies, but you can opt for ambulance cover extras for non-emergency situations too.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, you are automatically covered for ambulance services if you have private hospital insurance. Basic hospital coverage in NSW includes ambulance services, so you won’t have to worry about ambulance transport and paramedic treatment and assistance if you already have a private health fund membership. New South Wales also has a patient hardship policy to help out those who are experiencing hardship and therefore qualify for discounted or free ambulance services.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
For the Australian Capital Territory, there’s the ACT Ambulance Service which provides ambulance transport via land or air, as well as paramedic care for those who have private health insurance in the state. Check with your health insurance company to make sure that your policy includes this option.
Queensland offers Community Ambulance Cover (CAC) for all of its residents. This quite simply means that everyone living in the state is automatically covered by the Queensland Ambulance Service for ambulance transport anywhere in Australia. This used to be charged via Queenslanders’ electricity charges, but as of January 2011, the levy has been lifted and ambulance services are free.
The same is true for Tasmania: the Tasmanian Ambulance Service offers free ambulance services for its residents, along with paramedic care and treatment. The only situations that require charges are those related to motor vehicle or workplace accidents, because basic insurance covers these costs. The Department of Veteran Affairs likewise defrays ambulance costs for veterans.
In Western Australia, you’ll need to take out a private insurance policy with St. John’s Ambulance Service WA if you want to be covered for ambulance transportation and care throughout the country. If you live in the metropolitan area, HBF owns and operates St. John’s Ambulance Service, while rural ambulance cover is provided by local St. John’s Ambulance sub-centers.
Residents of the Northern Territory, like those in WA, will need to take out a subscription to St. John’s Ambulance Service NT to be covered Australia-wide for ambulance services and paramedic care.