How does Transport Health cover ambulance services?
Transport Health was a restricted health fund prior to 2014 and open only to members of Australia’s transport industries. Now, it’s open to all Australians and has grown swiftly since then.
Emergency ambulance transport is one of the services included in all Transport Health policies, but this isn’t the same as having complete cover for all ambulance services.
Emergency vs non-emergency ambulance cover
Transport Health will generally only cover you for emergency ambulance transport, while other providers will often cover all emergency ambulance services.
- Emergency ambulance transportation. This is when you need to be transported to hospital by an ambulance, or other state service such as flying doctors, for emergency purposes. This is the only service covered by Transport Health policies.
- Other emergency ambulance services. This refers to you receiving treatment on the scene by paramedics instead of going to hospital. Transport Health does not cover this. Many health funds will cover this with their policies as will standalone ambulance cover.
Non-emergency ambulance transport can include a wide range of situations.
- Hospital transfers. This refers to transfers between hospitals or medical facilities.
- Non-emergency patient transport. This refers to ambulance transport for non-emergency situations, like a broken leg.
- Other ambulance transport. This refers to ambulance transport to hospital for routine follow-ups, ambulance transport from hospital to home and other situations that are not emergencies.
You typically do not have cover for any of these unless you have cover through a state scheme, have an applicable state ambulance subscription or hold a health insurance policy that includes non-emergency ambulance cover.
How does each state cover ambulances?
In all states, Department of Veterans Affairs gold cardholders are covered under state schemes.
In Tasmania and Queensland, residents are covered for all ambulance transport by state schemes and don’t need any additional ambulance cover. In Queensland, this is available nationwide while in Tasmania, it is only available within the state.
In New South Wales and the ACT, you are fully covered if you hold a hospital health insurance policy since a portion of the premiums go towards the state ambulance service. Pensioners and concession cardholders may also be covered.
In Victoria and Western Australia, pensioners and eligible concession cardholders are automatically covered, while others may require a state ambulance subscription.
In South Australia and the Northern Territory, you will need an ambulance subscription or cover through an appropriate health fund policy to have full cover.
Do I need more cover than what Transport Health offers?
If you are not covered by a state scheme and are not a resident of Tasmania or Queensland, then you are not fully covered for ambulance services.
With a Transport Health hospital policy, or some other insurer’s hospital policy, you will be fully covered in NSW and the ACT.
In all other situations, Transport Health will only cover you for emergency ambulance transportation. This is a relatively limited level of cover and is less than what many other health funds provide. You can get a state ambulance subscription for more cover, or you can look for health funds that offer some of the following types of ambulance cover:
- Full emergency ambulance cover. This includes paramedic attendance on the scene in the event of an emergency.
- Non-emergency ambulance cover. Some health funds, and some policies, will also include cover for non-emergency ambulance transport. Limits may apply, such as one or two services per year.
- Ambulance subscription cover. Some extras policies will include cover for state ambulance subscriptions, letting you claim most of the costs against your extras policy.