The Health Care Consumers Association of the ACT complained today on Twitter to the Chief Minister and Health Minister that a patient received a rude shock when a bill for an ambulance was received. I can’t get the embed thingamy to work so I can’t show you the tweet.
I was intrigued that this was implied as either a government deficiency or a health literacy deficiency. I had assumed that those who have a concession card would be covered (correct) but otherwise it’s a private insurance issue (also correct). The exception is for those being transferred between health care providers. However, this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
So, to provide a service to the nation’s patients who may need an ambulance, here are the links, by jurisdiction:
- Australian Capital Territory – as described above
- New South Wales – as described above
- Northern Territory – service provided under contract by St John’s Ambulance
- Queensland – a community ambulance scheme is in place.
- South Australia – a subscription service operates, akin to insurance
- Tasmania – provided as a government service to residents of Tasmania.
- Victoria – insurance system the same as ACT, NSW and SA
- Western Australia – provided by St John’s on a user pays system. Insurance is available.
So, five of the eight jurisdictions expect that, other than those with health care or concession cards, residents will insure or pay as they go. Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory basically provide a free service for residents only. This gets murky if you’re travelling interstate.