The most expensive taxi they’ll ever take: Aussies ignorant about ambulance costs
The most expensive taxi they’ll ever take: Aussies ignorant about ambulance costs.
With 4.3 million ambulance service responses in 2015-2016 and 7.8 million emergency department hospitalisations in 2016-17, ambulance is a service most Aussies will use at least once in their lives.
Yet a new survey has revealed many could be left with huge bill shock after an ambulance ride. Incredibly, almost half (49%) of Australians surveyed thought an ambulance trip was free or up to a third of the actual cost.
The survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1500 Australian adults was commissioned by leading financial comparison service to discover how many Australians actually knew the cost of an ambulance trip.
In Australia, ambulances are only covered by the State Government if you live in Queensland or Tasmania. In Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and the ACT, the cost is close to $1000 per ride. Worryingly, 25 per cent of survey respondents believed that ambulances were free for emergencies across all states.
How do residents in each State compare?
The survey revealed that 60 per cent of New South Wales residents living 5km from the nearest hospital believed an ambulance ride would be under $300 or entirely free. In reality, the call out fee for New South Wales alone is $372, with an additional $3.35-per-kilometre charge capped at $6095.
The costs for Victorians and South Australians are even higher, with an ambulance bill coming in at $1204 and at least $955 respectively. Yet 55 per cent of Victorians and 32 per cent of South Australians believed costs were free or under $500.
Ambulance costs in both Western Australia and the ACT are over $900, yet 49 per cent of West Australians and 41 per cent of ACT residents believed an ambulance trip was free or under $500.
Abigail Koch, household savings and health cover expert at comparethemarket.com.au, said: “An ambulance is the busiest and most expensive taxi we’ll ever take. We hope that we’ll never need one. Should we require a trip to the hospital, including the additional fees for medical treatment and care, many of us could be left with skyrocketing bills after a health incident.”
“With the cost of a single ambulance ride close to $1000, it is vital Australians are covered for ambulance costs to avoid being stung with exorbitant medical bills. Depending on your budget, you can opt for ambulance cover as a standalone policy, or include it within your private hospital cover. This means you can enjoy the best of both worlds by not only avoiding costly ambulance fees, but also long public hospital waiting lists. To find a level of ambulance cover that is right for you – and your budget – compare policies on comparethemarket.com.au.”
|Ambulance costs in Australia|
|State||Perception of costs by survey respondents||Actual cost|
|National||25% believe a trip is free for emergencies|
49% believe a trip is up to $300
|Varies by state|
|NSW||46% believe a trip is free or under $300|
60% of residents living 5km from a hospital think it’s free or under $300
|$372 + $3.35/km|
|Vic||37% believe a trip is free or under $300|
55% believe a trip is free or under $500
|SA||32% believe a trip is free or under $500|
33% of residents living 10km from a hospital think it’s free or under $500
|$955 + $5.50/km|
|WA||34% think a trip is free or under $300|
49% think it’s free or under $500
|ACT||22% think a trip is free or under $300|
41% think it’s free or under $500
|$936 + $12/km travelled outside of ACT|
|QLD||35% didn’t know ambulances are free||Free|
|Tas||42% didn’t know ambulances are free||Free|
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