Ambulance Insurance – Are You Covered In Queensland?

As a Queensland resident, do you know whether you’d have to pay for ambulance transport and services if you needed to be taken to hospital in an emergency?

The good news is that permanent Queensland residents qualify for free emergency pre-hospital ambulance assistance and transport, anywhere in Australia and for any emergency; big or small. But how exactly does it work and what about non-Queensland residents visiting the Sunshine State? Let’s take a look.

What is ambulance cover?

While ambulance services are a fundamental component of the hospital system, they’re not covered by Medicare – which means that in some Australian states and territories, ambulance services are not free.

This in turn means that, as with any other medical service not covered by Medicare, you could be paying out of pocket if you don’t have have an appropriate level of insurance in place (and if you live in a state where ambulance services aren’t covered by the government).

Health insurance cover for ambulance services can take a few different forms – some health insurers offer a standalone ambulance cover product, whereas most simply cover ambulance costs under their hospital or extras products.

While ambulance services are free to Queensland residents, once the ambulance gets you to the hospital, you may need cover for any further medical assistance you’re given, depending on factors like the hospital you go to and the types of treatment you receive. This means you may want to consider having a high-quality health insurance policy in place, just in case.

The table below displays a selection of 5-Star Rated hospital and extras health insurance policies, based on a couple in QLD born in January 1990 who do not require cover for pregnancy. Before committing to a particular health insurance product, check upfront with your provider and read the PDS to confirm the details and whether the policy meets your needs.

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Access to ambulance services for QLD residents – how it works

Receiving ambulance assistance or transport within QLD

If you or one of your dependents requires ambulance assistance and/or transport within the state of Queensland, that service will be provided for free if at least one of you is a Queensland resident. This is because the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is fully funded by the Queensland Government.

Receiving ambulance assistance or transport outside QLD

The Queensland Government explains that if you or one of your dependants receives ambulance assistance or transport outside of Queensland, you will receive an invoice for these services which you can then forward to the QAS for payment. In doing so, you may need to provide proof that you are a Queensland resident, for example by supplying a current copy of your driver’s licence or a recent bank statement showing your address.

However, as mentioned above, any additional care could come at a cost to you, you so may want to take out a health insurance policy to help cover those additional costs. You can compare health insurance products with Canstar.

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Are visitors to Queensland covered for ambulance services?

Non-Queensland residents are typically not eligible for free ambulance services within Queensland, and may be responsible for paying the costs of any QAS services provided to them, with a handful of exceptions as outlined by the Queensland Government.

New South Wales residents

New South Wales residents may be eligible to have any ambulance assistance in Queensland paid for by the Ambulance Service of NSW if they either:

  • Hold basic hospital cover with a registered private health fund, in which case they pay an ambulance levy as part of their premiums, and are entitled to free ambulance assistance, or
  • Hold either a pensioner or health care concession card

The Queensland Government advises that non-emergency ambulance transport (for example, transfers between hospitals) typically will not be covered by the Ambulance Service of NSW.

ACT residents

ACT residents who are covered for ambulance services through their private health insurer will be able to forward an invoice for ambulance services provided to their health fund.

Victorian residents

Victorian residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services received paid for by Ambulance Victoria if they:

  • Hold a pensioner or health care concession card, or
  • Are an Ambulance Victoria  member, or
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer

Tasmanian residents 

Tasmanian residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services they receive paid for if they are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer.

South Australian residents

South Australian residents may be eligible to have the costs of any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are a South Australia Ambulance Service member with interstate ambulance cover, or
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer

Western Australian residents

Western Australian residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are over 65 and in receipt of an Australian Government pension
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer

Northern Territory residents

Northern Territory residents may be eligible to have any ambulance services received paid for if they:

  • Are a St John Ambulance Service subscription scheme member, or
  • Are covered for ambulance services through a private health insurer

Additionally, any individual who holds a Gold Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is also covered for the costs of any ambulance services received in Queensland. If this applies to you, the Queensland Government says you should provide the QAS with your DVA file number.

Expats and other international visitors 

Expats and other international visitors who do not live in Australia are encouraged by the Queensland Government to get in touch with a travel agent to discuss potential options for ambulance cover while spending time in the state.

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