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Ambulance cover

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137 total posts
Not currently suffering :D
Hi to all,

A recent post here on driving with CH got me thinking about Ambulance cover for CHers.
Although I personally think that calling an ambulance for CH is probably counter-productive, as nobody ever died from CH attack - (Time taken to get to you, resources are diverted from life-threatening situations where they are needed, inability to treat CH attack) However, some people may still need to call one for any number of medical reasons.

Better to pay a small sum up front for peace of mind, rather than add a massive Ambulance bill to your could be enough to give you a headache...

In CH treatment, I have experienced drug interactions and/or contraindications that have given rise to the need for emergency medical treatment - requiring the attendance of an Ambulance.
I have SA Ambulance cover. My one ride cost me $44 insurance for that year. It paid for itself. It would take me 20 years at that rate to equal the expense ($850) of an uninsured Ambulance ride.
Money well spent.

An uninsured priority one emergency ride in most Australian Ambulances, starts at around $850 and that's before they do any treatment or use any on-board resources...

People with private health insurance may already have Ambulance cover as part of their individual policy arrangements, there's no need to double up, or "over-insure" - but it's best to check the fine print on your individual private health policy for specific details.

People in country or regional areas should seek information on country or regional Ambulance services, arrangements may vary.

Ambulance insurance arrangements change frequently and vary considerably from state to state. Check out what is currently applicable to your individual circumstances, as insurance arrangements may change.

National Ambulance cover overview - state by state arrangements:

- All states and territories

Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders are covered for state ambulance services in every state by the Department.

note: As in SA, St John may not be the default ambulance provider for your state or area.
In SA, where St John no longer operate as the default Ambulance service, Ambulance cover is purchased directly from "SA Ambulance service."


Individual State by state Ambulance cover websites:


Ambulance costs for Queensland residents are covered by the state government.


New South Wales:

NSW - State Ambulance Insurance Plan

The Ambulance Service of NSW no longer operates an Ambulance Contribution Scheme however this product is still available from several of the larger private health funds.
Health Care Concession Card, Pensioner Concession Card, and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are entitled to free ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase insurance from a private health fund.




Pensioner Concession Card and Healthcare Card holders are entitled to free ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase insurance from a private health fund or a subscription through the state ambulance service.



South Australia:

If you want ambulance cover you can purchase insurance from a private health fund or a subscription through the state ambulance service.



Northern Territory:

Pensioner Concession Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are entitled to free ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase insurance from a private health fund or a subscription through the state ambulance service.




TAS: Ambulance costs for Tasmanian residents are covered by the state government.


Western Australia:

Aged Pensioner concession holders you may be entitled to free ambulance transport services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase insurance from a private health fund or a subscription through the state ambulance service.

WA country ambulance service:


Australian Capital Territory (ACT):

Health Care Concession Card and Pensioner Concession Card holders are entitled to free emergency ambulance services. If you are not eligible for a concession and want to be covered, you can purchase insurance from a private health fund.

Ambulance only cover
The ACT Ambulance Subscription Scheme is no longer adminstered by the NIB Health Fund; members of the public can compare registered health funds at the government initiative website, If you are not eligible for Centrelink benefits, private health cover is available via contact with your preferred health care provider in the form of “Top Tier Hospital Cover” or “Ambulance only cover”, some funds will cover you whether you are transported or not. You can find the available health funds at


Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions, I will fix or add them to this post. Perhaps we can get this up as a tab on the left, we'll see what happens.

If you have the time, have a look at becoming trained in Senior First Aid.
I have this certificate and my training once helped keep an elderly car accident victim alive, until an Ambulance arrived - He was OK.
Training well worth it, I was glad I could help and his family appreciates it to this day.

Cheers, Ben.This post was edited on 28/04/2013 at 6:32 am
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606 total posts
Not currently suffering :D
Call an ambulance for a cluster attack? Never have, and i never will. Well, hopefully. Not for drug interactions either, but I didn't have CH then icon
Thanks for the excellent info Ben; worthy of a link on the left even.

I thought you were going to go into the liability of it all Ben- CH sufferers are really in a void, legally.speaking. You're found to have medication in your system, but it's not approved for CH- you're now drug driving. Insurance won't pay in a smash. You're in court and in serious trouble. Not wishing that on you Buzz, Get healthy first, then worry about what's going to happen about it.

WE need to get recognised. Having a non-recognized condition is ridiculous in this day and age.
cheers peter.This post was edited on 21/04/2013 at 5:06 pm
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137 total posts
Not currently suffering :D
Great to see you back Petericon
Seriously, the site could use more points of view!

Don't get me started on CH recognition, drugs, licencing, operating motor vehicles etc.
It's a major pet peeve for me and a huge can of worms.
That will need it's own thread, which I suspect would be long.

I had a huge post written about it, but the site dropped it.
Perhaps, the cyber-powers-that-be are trying to tell me something...
I saved it, but will spare the good people of Clusterville my thoughts on all that, for now...

As if to reinforce my position, this sort of shit is happening daily in my state. Oxycontin addled elderly people are making a habit of parking in shopfront or houses and killing people. This happened yesterday, about 4 kms from my house. Too many medical conditions and drugs are slipping through licensing and GP scrutiny.
This pedestrian, or the driver for that matter, could have been any one of us:

Re: the ambulance info in CH.

I just put up the Ambulance info, because it's cheap and they did save my life in am major drug interaction - a product of CH treatment..
I think the clauses in most Ambulance insurance say, that if you are not a Priority 1 call (life-threatening, and a CH attack is not medically life-threatening in itself) you will be placed down the list as non-urgent treatment. An Ambulance will take considerably longer to get to you and THEN you still may get the bill for them attending a non-life threatening call out.

That's one expensive suck on an O2 bottle, through the wrong mask, after your CH has already peaked.

Going to emergency departments for treatment of a CH attack is completely pointless.
Anyone who does this is yet to discover the pointlessness of this entire exercise.
The only grounds left to attend ER, is CH related, not CH attack itself.

Drug interaction, contraindication, allergic reaction, mental health status are all different CH related issues that may give legitimate rise to the need for an ER visit.

My advice to people racing off to ER, (by ambulance or not) to treat CH attack as an emergency is this:

- You know a CH attack won't kill you.

- Calm down

- Pain is a physical phenomenon that you can deal with, suffering is a product of your psychological state that may cause you to think that your CH attack is an "emergency" when it clearly is not.

- Suck it up, you've done this before

- Use known abortive measures, if you have none, perhaps it's time to book Specialist care through an outpatient service and find some abortives or alternative preventives.

- Don't add to your CH woes by dragging family, vehicles, ambulances and ER staff into something that will not kill you and will be over soon.

- Don't put others lives in danger by driving mid CH attack to ER out of desperation for "treatment". The situation may well end up as life-threatening when you drive into someone...

- Don't let bystanders, or relatives whip up hysteria around your CH attack. Concerned relatives witnessing the torture of CH attack can often blow your symptoms out of proportion and are often the instigators of otherwise unnecessary "emergency" treatment.

After CHers have attended ER, they are often quick to have a go at ER staff about their lack of CH knowledge.
Stop blaming ER staff for lack of CH treatment.
They are trained to deal with acute trauma presentations, not short episodes of non life-threatening chronic disease.
This is why we have headache specialists and outpatient departments.

If you want an ugly scene, where your CH goes untreated, you get pissed off and end up with 6 security guards sitting on top of you - go to ER for CH attack. Even if ER do offer successful CH attack treatment - it will be something you can do at home.

(Before people have a go at me here - I can back myself.
I am an experienced CHer and ER veteran. I have consulted ER nursing staff, their superiors, their training, right up to the leading CH specialists. Their professional consensus across the entire hospital system is that ER is not the place to go for CH attack)

Cheers, Ben.This post was edited on 24/04/2013 at 1:22 pm
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From: aldinga beach
17 total posts
Currently suffering :(
Hey Ben,
thats exactly what the worlds lacking at the mo. . . . . . . . . . . ..
Straight up (experienced) advice without the frills.

Good on ya

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85 total posts
Not currently suffering :D
WARNING: private insurance may not provide adequate ambulance cover!!!!

The following info relates to Victoria, there may be some state to state variation.

Many people are getting hit with hefty ambulance bills because tey thought their private insurance covered them fully. Most insurance policies will have the fine print that they don't tell you about unless you specifically ask.

One of the commonest clauses is that you are covered for "emergencies" but not non-urgent transport. How they define an emergency may differ from one insurer to another. An ambulance may come to you with lights and sirens and take you to hospital but that doesn't mean that you meet the criteria of what your insurer defines as an emergency.

A few questions you should ask:
- how do you define an emergency (push for plenty of detail)
- am I covered Australia wide
- am I covered for helicopter transport
- is there a limit to how many ambulance trips I can make in a year

The safest option is to have an ambulance subscription which will fully cover you for every form of ambulance transport. Be very wary of relying on private insurance - it could cost you dearly!
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137 total posts
Not currently suffering :D
Excellent BlueDevil, and thanks.

I'm a lifelong public patient and never had private health, so am totally ignorant of the ins and outs of private health policies. I did know that doubling up or "over-insuring" could be an issue, but I was not aware of these particular issues you've mentioned.
For sure, there are grey areas around levels of priority for call outs.
So I just wrote in my post "check your individual private health policy for details." in the hope that people would do just that.

Looks like it's better for all to have a paid-up Ambulance cover policy then!
It's so cheap too.

My cover says I can have any number of Ambulance rides per year.
I am only covered in my home state.
Call-out priorities appear ambiguous to me, so unless it's life-threatening, I get a lift to ER. (The one ride I did have was for atrial fibrillation and was deemed priority one, but only after the fact. This could have changed and landed me with a huge bill, if the Ambos had got picky about it...)
Chopper rides? Never thought of that, I better check...
Thanks for the heads up Bluedev..

If you think this info needs to be included or amended in my first post, please drop me the relevant info either here or in a PM and I will seek it out in each state/territory, IF this is to be made a tab on the left at a later date.

This sort of experience is invaluable and so much needed on the site.icon

Thanks again, I am sure you have helped many here!

Cheers, Ben.
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765 total posts
Currently suffering :(
See Ben, you knew I was watching!
Blue Devil is right. Private Cover does not "cover" the requirements for total ambulance cover. Trust me I know. Nearly got caught out.
You are right--ambulance cover through St Johns here is SA is the way to go.
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137 total posts
Not currently suffering :D

Great to see you around Heather!

When I first inquired about Ambulance cover in SA, I rang St John, of course.
I've seen them attending emergency for years, did the Grand Prix and heaps of events I did music at too, I did my Senior First Aid cert with them.
They are great people.

When i rang, the nice St John lady said to me that they don't do ambulance cover anymore.
It got me confused, because I think I still see them getting about all the time.
She mumbled something about state government contracts and for a while there was an ambo war or something going on here, I did see blank ambulances getting around with no names at all!
She forwarded me onto "SA Ambulance service" for my cover, which I subsequently used, without issue.

Maybe there's some overlap, I better check that out too...
OK, just went to the SA St John site.
My search for "Ambulance cover" returned no results.
I scoured the rest of the site for ambo cover, but to no avail.
Looks like they lost the SA gov contract maybe?

Still the best place for training, first aid kits and everything emergency in SA.

This is the only place I could find SA ambulance cover:[

A mate of mine signed up (finally) the other day.
He got the application form at his local post office, filled it in there, paid the fee and walked out the door covered.
Glad he did, cause he's a worry...

Great to see you again Heather!
We've missed you! icon

Cheers, Ben.
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765 total posts
Currently suffering :(
Thanks Ben
Yep, wrong terminology on my part. Still think of it as belonging to St Johns.
Is in fact as you state
SA Ambulance Service
Government of SA
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