Ambulance

You can organise ambulance cover to insure against the costs of using an ambulance by purchasing ambulance cover from a private health insurer or from your state ambulance service. Depending on your state of residence, you may be eligible for a discount or may not need cover at all. Medicare does not cover the cost of emergency transport or other ambulance services.

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Medicare does not cover the cost of emergency transport or other ambulance services. You can organise ambulance cover, through a health insurer or in some states and territories, from the state ambulance authority. Health insurers may pay for or reimburse you for all or part of your annual subscription to your state or territory ambulance authority or the costs associated with transportation.

Depending on your state or territory of residence, you may be eligible for a discount or may not need cover at all. Note that the information below applies while in your state of residence and may not apply if you are interstate.

StateAmbulance Cover arrangements in your state of residence
All states and territoriesDepartment of Veterans Affairs Health Card holders are covered for state ambulance services in every state and territory. This website gives details about conditions and restrictions.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)ACT residents who are Pensioner, Concession or Health Care card holders are entitled to free emergency ambulance services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase cover from a private health insurer.
New South Wales (NSW)NSW residents who are Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, or Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders can use some ambulance services free of charge. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase cover from a private health insurer.
Northern Territory (NT)NT residents who are Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card holders are entitled to free ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase cover from a private health insurer or a subscription through the territory ambulance service.
Queensland (QLD)Emergency pre-hospital ambulance treatment and transport costs for Queensland residents are covered by the state government.
South Australia (SA)SA residents who want ambulance cover can purchase cover from a private health insurer or a subscription through the state ambulance service.
Tasmania (TAS)Ambulance costs for Tasmanian residents are covered by the state government.
Victoria (VIC)Victorian Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card holders are entitled to free, clinically necessary ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase cover from a private health insurer or a subscription from the state ambulance service.
Western Australia (WA)WA residents who are over 65 years and receive an Australian Government pension are entitled to free medically necessary, emergency and urgent ambulance services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase cover from a private health insurer or a subscription from the state ambulance service.

If you are travelling interstate, check with your state ambulance service, concession card provider or health insurer about how you are covered for ambulance services while travelling.

What may not be covered?

Ambulance cover can vary. Some insurers provide cover for all ambulance travel, while others only provide for ground travel or have other limitations - for example, they may cover you in your state of residence only, or they may not cover 'call out' fees (when an ambulance treats you at the scene but does not transport you to hospital).

Check with your insurer about which type of ambulance cover best suits your needs.

Contact your state or territory government for more information on the arrangements that apply in your state.

Questions to ask about your ambulance cover

Some questions you can ask before joining include:

  • Will this policy cover me when I'm travelling interstate?
  • Does this policy cover emergency situations only, or will it cover non-emergency as well? How does the insurer define an emergency?
  • Will this policy cover me for the ambulance 'call-out' fee if I need ambulance treatment but do not require transportation?
  • What is the waiting period?
  • Will I need to make any co-payments towards the ambulance fee?
  • What types of ambulance transport will this cover - for example, will it cover air ambulance? Will it cover transports provided by  state-approved private providers or other private providers?