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Ambulance cover in Australia

Ambulance isn't covered by Medicare, and isn't free in most states. However, it's covered in most private health insurance policies, or stand-alone from around $4 a month.

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What you need to know

  • Ambulance is not covered by Medicare, but TAS and QLD governments cover some costs for residents.
  • The cost of an ambulance call-out can often range from $400–$1,800+.
  • Ambulance cover comes with most extras policies from $4 a week, or standalone from $1.50 a week.

Compare private ambulance insurance policies

The table below lists some affordable policies from Finder partners that include ambulance. All prices are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income and living in Sydney.

1 - 10 of 715
Name Product Treatments Price Apply
Ambulance Only
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$4.74
per month
HCF AMBULANCE ONLY
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$4.90
per month
Urgent Ambulance
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$6.18
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +1 other treatments covered
$12.48
per month
black 50 saver
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$12.63
per month
HCF STARTER EXTRAS
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +2 other treatments covered
$12.74
per month
Freedom 50
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$14.02
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +2 other treatments covered
$16.89
per month
Basic Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
$17.60
per month
Starter Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
  • Hearing aids
  • +1 other treatments covered
$23.33
per month
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How ambulance insurance works

Ambulance services aren't covered by Medicare, and only Queensland and Tasmania offer state government coverage for ambulance costs. That means an emergency ambulance trip can end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars if you don't have private health insurance. Luckily, there are a few ways to get covered for these costs.

Ambulance icon

Private ambulance cover

Ambulance cover is a type of private health insurance that reimburses you for using an ambulance to receive emergency medical treatment. Some ambulance cover just includes emergency transport to your nearest hospital, while other policies cover a range of ambulance services, including transfer between hospitals. You'll also find ambulance coverage included in most (but not all) extras policies, as well as with some hospital-only policies. Check the product disclosure statement (PDS) of your policy to make sure you're covered for what's important to you.

Australian states

State ambulance cover

Ambulance services aren't covered by Medicare, and Queensland and Tasmania are the only two states that provide some coverage of ambulance costs for residents. Queensland residents will have their ambulance costs covered nation-wide, while Tasmanian residents will have their costs covered within Tasmania only. Note that you do have to be a resident of Tassie or Queensland to be covered – non-residents aren't eligible. Some states (other than TAS and QLD) do offer free ambulance services for some groups, like pensioners or DVA gold-card holders.

Ambulance subscription

Ambulance subscription

Some state ambulance services offer a separate subscription service. These subscriptions typically cover the cost of ambulance transport in your state, and will sometimes cover you nation-wide. For example, a Northern Territory St John subscription will cover you both for St John ambulance services in the NT, but also for ambulance fees across the country.

Does Medicare cover ambulance services?

No, Medicare does not cover ambulance services – the idea that it does is a common misconception among Australians. Unless you are a resident of Queensland or Tasmania or have private health insurance, you could be facing big ambulance call-out costs. Read on to find out more about the costs in your state and how you can get ambulance cover.

AMBULANCE COVER – Finder Survey

Nearly 1 in 3 Australians wrongly believe ambulances are free under Medicare, and 30% – the equivalent of 5.7 million people – think that ambulance costs are wholly subsidised by the government. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 (8%) have caught public transport because they didn't want to pay for an ambulance.

The cost of ambulance services by state

New South Wales icon

Ambulance cover NSW

New South Wales residents have to pay an emergency ambulance call-out fee of $407 plus an additional $3.67 for every kilometre travelled. You are charged 51% of the total emergency ambulance service charge, with the government covering the rest. If the reason for needing an ambulance is related to COVID-19, you won't have to pay. Some concession card holders are also exempt from paying.

Cost of an ambulance in New South Wales

ServiceCall-out FeeCost per kmMax charge
Road ambulance emergency$407$3.67$6,668
Road ambulance non-emergency$320$1.98$6,668
Fixed wing emergency$407$3.67$6,668
For helicopter emergency$407$3.67$6,668

NSW Government: NSW Ambulance – Accounts & Fees. July 2022.

Queensland icon

Ambulance cover QLD

The Queensland Government covers the cost of emergency ambulance services in Queensland and around the country. In order to be covered under the Community Ambulance Cover scheme, you'll need to be prove you live in Queensland.

Australian Capital Territory icon

Ambulance cover ACT

Emergency ambulance services can cost $1,000 in the ACT if you are transported and treated. Residents who hold a Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card are entitled to free emergency ambulance services within the ACT. When travelling interstate, though, there is no cover available if you're travelling in Queensland, South Australia or Western Australia.

Cost of an ambulance in the ACT

ServiceCall-out feeCost per km outside the ACT
Emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport)$1,000$14
Emergency ambulance service (treatment but no transport)$693N/A
Non-emergency ambulance service by an Ambulance Paramedic or an Intensive Care Paramedic$714$14
Non-emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) by Patient Transport Service resource$257$5.40

ACT government ambulance service fees. August 2021.

Victoria icon

Ambulance cover VIC

You will have to pay $1,306 for an ambulance trip in the city and $1,927 if you're in a regional or rural area. Victorians can buy ambulance cover through membership with Ambulance Victoria which provides a 1-year membership for $49.08. If you hold a concession card, you can get clinically necessary ambulance cover for free. Otherwise, you have the option of taking out ambulance cover through your private health fund.

Cost of an ambulance in Victoria

ServiceCall-out fee
Emergency Road - Metropolitan$1,306
Emergency Road - Regional and Rural$1,927
Non Emergency Stretcher - Metropolitan$353
Non Emergency Stretcher - Regional and Rural$596
Treatment without transport$563

Ambulance Victoria fee schedule 2022-23. July 2022.

Tasmania icon

Ambulance cover Tasmania

Residents of Tasmania are eligible for free ambulance services within the state, paid for by the state government. However, this doesn't cover you interstate. If you live in Tassie but want coverage for ambulance services in another states, you'll need to take out a private health insurance policy that covers ambulance.

South Australia icon

Ambulance cover SA

An emergency ambulance call-out in South Australia will cost $1,064. South Australian residents can purchase a subscription with the South Australian Ambulance Service. Prices start at $90 for 1 person. You can also get Australia-wide (interstate) ambulance cover for $106.40. Otherwise, you could be looking at $1,064 for an emergency call-out fee. There are pension rates available for holders of an SA Pension concession card. The rate starts at $54.50 for a single pensioner.

Alternatively, a health insurance policy that includes ambulance services may be better value for money as you can also get covered for other medical treatment, not just ambulance services.

Cost of an ambulance in SA

CategoryFee
Emergency call-out$1,064
Non-Emergency call-out$237
Treatment, no transport (flat rate)$237
Plus kilometre charges$6.10

SAAS Transport Fees 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022. July 2022.

Western Australia icon

Ambulance cover WA

Western Australian residents can expect to pay $1,072 for emergency ambulance treatment unless they have health insurance. Western Australian residents who are over the age of 65 and are receiving an Australian government pension are entitled to free ambulance services. This includes emergency ambulance services and medically necessary non-urgent ambulance services. If you're over 65 but you don't receive a government pension, you are still entitled to 50% off the cost of ambulance services.

Country Ambulance Cover is available with St John Ambulance Cover WA. Prices start at $61 for a single person if you live south of the 26th parallel and $80 for those north of the 26th parallel. In Perth, St John Ambulance operates a "user pays" system, so you need private health insurance if you don't want to pay for ambulance services.

Cost of an ambulance in Western Australia

ServiceFee
Life threatening$1,072
Urgent$1,072
Non-urgent$576
Patient Transfer Vehicle$511

St John Ambulance WA transport charges. August 2021.

Northern Territory icon

Ambulance cover NT

The cost of emergency ambulance transportation costs between $745 and 1,000. St John operates ambulance services in the Northern Territory but you will need a subscription to St John or you'll need private ambulance insurance to cover costs. Subscriptions costs begin at $110 for an individual and $130 for a family.

Family ambulance cover

There are a few ways you can get family ambulance cover. Here's a brief breakdown of each state.

StatesWays to get ambulance cover
Family ambulance cover NSWIf you want cover for the family, you'll need to get family hospital or extras coverage. In NSW, emergency ambulance service is included with hospital policies.
Family ambulance cover VICA 1-year family membership with Ambulance Victoria is $98.15. Cover is also available with extras cover for families.
Family ambulance QLDFree to all residents.
Family ambulance SAIt's $179 and $211.50 to include interstate travel for SA Ambulance Cover. Alternatively, you can buy ambulance cover through private health insurance.
Family ambulance WAAmbulance cover is available with St John Ambulance south of the 26th parallel for $101 and $133 north of the 26th parallel. It's also available with private health insurance extras cover.
Family ambulance TASFree to all residents.
Family ambulance ACTYou will need private health insurance that covers your family.
Family ambulance NTA St John Ambulance cover NT subscription is available for $130 per year. You can also get family cover with a private health fund.

Prices checked January 2021

What's the cheapest way to get ambulance cover?

Standalone ambulance cover is generally the cheapest way to get covered. However, it's not necessarily the best value for money. For instance, a standalone ambulance cover policy is likely to cost you between $50 and $110 a year depending on the state you live in but this covers you for emergency ambulances only. You can get the same service with extras cover for as little as $3 a week, but you'll also get routine dental, physiotherapy and chiropractic cover included.

If standalone ambulance cover is all you're interested in, then you don't need to consider extras. But if you want value for money, then go for an extras policy that also includes emergency ambulance and a range of other important health services.

How do waiting periods work for ambulance cover?

You won't have to serve a waiting period for emergency ambulance services.

Waiting periods generally only apply to treatments that you can anticipate needing – for example, a hip replacement – but you're only eligible for emergency transport to hospital because of sudden or unexpected events. In some cases, you'll have to serve a 1-day waiting period.

However, you may have to serve a 1- or 2-month waiting period for non-emergency ambulance services. This is simply to ensure you get cover only when you need it.

Frequently asked questions

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    sherDecember 7, 2018

    I would like to just get basic ambulance nsw cover without having to join a health fund is this possible

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Sher,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Yes, you may be able to just get ambulance cover for NSW. You have to purchase ambulance cover insurance from a private health fund or a subscription through the state ambulance service. You may check the page we are on for a comparison of ambulance cover. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    LeighJuly 9, 2018

    Hi,just making an enquiry for my in laws. They are aged pensioners in south Australia. They do a lot of caravanning in Aust. Would they b covered Aust wide just on their pension and health care cards. Cheers

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneJuly 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Leigh,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      While a pension is more on providing financial aid and not health insurance cover, health care cards usually cover free or subsidised treatment by doctors and less fee for services and procedures.

      We suggest reviewing the option of having an insurance for their caravan .

      If you want to explore other options as well such as getting a domestic travel insurance, simply enter your travel details on our travel insurance search form. This will allow you to compare quote from different insurers.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Loraine

  3. Default Gravatar
    sandyOctober 25, 2017

    hi i want to take out ambulance only cover

    • Default Gravatar
      MariaOctober 26, 2017

      Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may check out the policies that include it in a hospital plan or extras plan by entering your preferences and submitting the form above.

      Should you want to check out Ambulance Only policy, you may need to reach out to the insurers directly to see what they can offer you.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

  4. Default Gravatar
    DarylMarch 20, 2017

    I am on an aged pension which entitles me to free ambulance in nsw. How do I go if travelling interstate and incur costs in relation to ambulance services. Would I be covered as a pensioner of nsw or would I need to take out private cover.

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