How do Ambulance Services bill their patients? How do they run in Australia?
Although Australia has some private companies which provide paramedic and first aid at sporting events or special events, fundamentally, all state Ambulance (Emergency) Services are government funded. Now, the level of governement funding differs in each state, and as a consquence, the billing requirements and need for customer costs differ.
In Western Australia, I believe that it is almost fully funded by patient Ambulance Billing, donations and volunteers. In most states on the East Coast of Australia are funded primarily by the government, and then create revenue through a certain level of billing. Although this differs from state to state – most Ambulance Services charge around $250 to respond to an emergency in which paramedic treat and transport a patient. However, this bill may increase if the patient requires long transfers or other specialised care. In virtually all cases though, the bills are low enough that virtually all patients can afford safe, effective, emergency Ambulance treatment.
Does everyone have to pay for an Ambulance?
No, generally, most of our patients don’t end up having to pay for their Ambulance service or treatment. In Australia, health (at least for the time being – thank goodness) is still fundamentally the right of every person regardless of their financial situation.
The following people don’t usually have to pay for Ambulance (although this may differ from state to state):
2. Patients on welfare concessions
3. Hospital to hospital transfers are often paid for by the hospital
4. Most school age kids at school have Ambulance Cover provided by their school (although most schools have this, it is not compulsory and not all schools have it)
5. In QLD (I believe) the bill for the Ambulance Service is taken out as a levy in every person’s electric bill and consequently, the users of the Ambulance Service do not have to pay for each service.
6. In most states you can organise Ambulance Insurance or Ambulance Cover for about $25-50 per year, which covers all Ambulance Billing
7. Most private health insurances cover Ambulance use – however, some insurance companies have in their “fine print” the proviso that they will only cover Ambulance Bills in “life threatening emergencies”
8. If you have a injury at work, you should be covered by work-cover and consequently not have to pay for your Ambulance Bill
9. If you have a car accident in Australia (so long as the car is actually registered) you are covered by the compulsory accidental injury insurance.
At the end of the day… if you need an Ambulance – call an Ambulance! For the sake of a few hundred dollars (generally worse case scenario) there is no reason why you should not have the best level of emergency prehospital care capable in your area! The Ambulance Billing can always be fixed later…
We’re here to help people – so if you need our help, call us.
In Australia you can call for an Ambulance by call “000” and asking for Ambulance – this is a free call and works from a pay phone or any mobile (even if you do not have credit).