Medicare Australia is universal health insurance that provides many health and human services at no or lower costs for Australian citizens and certain visitors. Some basic Medicare services include free hospital emergency care at public hospitals and free visits to general practitioners covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Medicare may also assist with the costs of visiting a specialist and the costs of covered prescription medication.
Medicare generally doesn’t cover dental or vision treatments, home care, or private hospital costs. Medicare also doesn’t provide ambulance cover, although roughly 25% of Australians erroneously believe that it does. In truth, ambulance cover depends on your state, and in areas where it isn’t provided, it will be covered either by private health insurance or out of pocket costs. Queensland and Tasmania are the only states where ambulance cover is provided by the state government, meaning residents of Victoria will need to cover it in other ways.
Ambulance Victoria Services
The easiest way to ensure you’re covered for Vic residents to ensure they’re covered for ambulance services is through an Ambulance Victoria membership. A one-year family membership costs $96.70, and an individual one-year membership runs $48.35. This membership covers you for transport and treatment by Ambulance Victoria paramedics in emergency situations. Membership can be great both for those without private health insurance and even those with it since some private plans are limited when it comes to ambulance cover. Membership may even be free for qualifying pensioners or low-income earners. Ambulance fees without coverage will be at least several hundred dollars, even for non-emergencies, and they can easily climb into the thousands.
Ambulance Victoria Billing
Members naturally have their fees ambulance fees covered, but non-members or residents from other states will receive invoices for services. You can also be billed if you were treated by Vic paramedics but not actually transported to the hospital. The costs for ambulance services also apply if someone else calls an ambulance for you, even if you refuse medical services upon arrival. Lastly, if you live in Queensland or Tasmania, you can show your state ambulance service the Ambulance Victoria bill and request they cover it. If they refuse, you’ll have to cover it yourself.
Private Health Insurance
It’s also possible to obtain ambulance cover through a private health insurance plan, but it’s important to understand if there are any limitations. Different insurance providers will approach ambulance cover in different ways. Some may offer full ambulance cover, which some may only cover ground travel, for instance. Other plans may only offer cover for your state of residence, so you’ll still be stuck with the pocket costs if you use an ambulance in another state. Lastly, not all plans cover “call out” fees, meaning situations where an ambulance is called to the scene and paramedics offer treatment, but no one is actually transported.
Private insurance offers potential benefits beyond ambulance cover. With a private plan, you may be transported to a private hospital during an emergency, for example. You’ll also have a right to your own hospital room, which generally won’t be afforded in a public hospital. When it comes time for treatment, a private health plan lets you choose your preferred doctor as well. You may even be able to reduce the wait times for elective surgeries.
Of course, private plans also give you options for vision, dental, and all other services not covered under Medicare. The type of plan that makes sense for you will depend on your needs and what you can afford. Compare ambulance cover Vic with iSelect to find coverage that’s right for you. Check how your policy defines “emergencies” as well, so you’ll be certain about what’s covered.