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Where is the ambulance membership?

By screaming banshee - 31 March 2010 11

We’ve been hearing of late about troubles and under-funding within the ambulance service.  As far as I am concerned this is one public service that should be well funded and full of people who are happy with there employment conditions.

When I started work in the smart state (go on fire away) one of the first things I did was take out an ambulance membership.  It was something like $60-$80 a year and along with supporting the ambulance service it meant if I was in a position that I would need an ambulance I wouldn’t be hit with a bill of something like $800.  I  upgraded to family membership when the time came and quite happily supported the scheme up until the decision was made that due to the lack of funding the state govt had to do something about it.

The decision was made that the fairest way to spread the cost of operating the ambulance service across the community was by adding $40 per year to everyone’s electricity bill.  For me this worked out better, I’m not sure what happened with those that were privately insured.

When we relocated to the ACT, I was quite surprised to see that no option existed for ambulance membership.  Our only option was to take out private health insurance or be prepared to cover the cost of an ambulance call if required.  Now the ACT is in the same position as the smart state was a couple of years ago where the ambulance service is underfunded and staff are stressed.  I would happily support either a membership system or additional levy to ensure the ambulance service is well funded.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Where is the ambulance membership?
bigcohuna1 9:06 pm 01 Apr 10

Hi
Have a lot to do with putting people in ambulances and sendin ghtem off to hospital. The amount of clowns that do something dangerous then complain “I can’t afford an ambulance!” when their left foot is sticking out of their right ear is finally getting to me.

If some fool wants to spend thou$ands of Dollar$ on their chosen sport (bikes, horses, motorsports etc) but cant be stuffed buying at least ambulance only cover for $ 40-50 then Matey – sucked in.

The more people that get ambulance cover the better they’ll be. As will the ambulance services out there.

Just check (especially for those with health / hospital cover, where Emergency Ambulance is included) that you are coverd in all states as some funds or Ambulance SChemes (yes some still exist) won’t cover you if you are interstate.

It can be very confusing. Also check regards to Non-Emergency (this includes trip from hospital to home – u get the full bill !)

The Queensland scheme only covers residents of Queensland. Its 30-40 $ tacked on to your quarterly electricity bill and if u r a resident u r covered for all ambulance travel. Used to be starting at around $750 upwards. But beware of these type of ‘Suplementary funding’ schemes. You may not get the bill up fron tbut when the state goes broke – you wil pay for it in the end. Queensland Ambulance is in huge debt already!

If you are already in hospital you shouldn’t have to worry – inter hosptial transfers are billed to the dispatcing ward, or in some states it is split betweenthe dispatching hospital and the receiveing one.

Best thing that can be done is:

Take out at least basic ambulance cover and…
Don’t get an ambulance unless u need it (constantly called out to be used as free taxi’s or free after hrs health care “can you put my eye drops in please” etc etc)

Ta

Feel better

fortyseven 8:44 pm 01 Apr 10

Perhaps the ACT ambulance service wouldn’t be so badly underfunded if ACT decided to have tiers to their service. At the moment every ambulance is staffed with 2 intensive care paramedics (the highest possible qualification) who are paid something approx $100,000 a year (with the new pay rise). So every single ambulance job requires two highly paid intensive care paramedics to attend, even if the complaint is something minor.

Every other state has a several layers, with regular paramedics and general duties crews providing care for the majority of the work and saving the expensive intensive care paramedics for the jobs where their expertise is required.

As for getting an ambulance in the ACT uninsured people who are taken to the hospital via an ambulance will find themselves facing a $750 bill! Make sure you have ambulance cover people.

For a list of ambulance fees and charges see http://www.esa.act.gov.au/ESAWebsite/content_actas/fees_and_charges/fees_and_charges.html

midlife 1:31 pm 01 Apr 10

$800 for a trip if you are lucky. My son was transfered by road from Canberra Hospital to Westmead Hospital last October. The bill $11,000! Thankfully ACT Health ended up picking up the bill but my Health cover has covered all the other ambulance trips. Anybody without Ambulance cover is taking a huge risk.

hairy nosed wombat 11:54 am 01 Apr 10

NIB offer Ambulance only cover.
http://www.nib.com.au/Home/newtonib/products/pages/jfyambulanceonly.aspx

I think the subs are retained by NIB, rather than given to the various ambo services.

troll-sniffer 11:37 am 01 Apr 10

I have ambulance only medibank private cover, around $30 pa with the 30% guvmnt rebate built into the bill already. Works for me.

screaming banshee 8:46 am 01 Apr 10

grunge_hippy said :

which is the smart state??

QLD of course 😉

MrPC said :

The cost of maintaining call centres, mailout facilities, billing and IT systems etc to collect pittance amounts from a small population hardly seems worth it. Most of the $40ish you’d expect to pay would get eaten up by admin fees before a cent got directed towards the front line ambulance service staff.

No, the electricity retailers add it to their quarterly bills and manage collection. Minimal costs involved.

MrPC said :

Better to leave all the clerical overheads to third parties (health insurers) who have all these systems, staffing structures etc in place already.

What about those without health insurance?

dannybear 8:43 am 01 Apr 10

ironically 10 minutes after reading this and thinking i wont need a ambulance any time soon i was rushed to hospital in one… just got home. I should be ok. 😀

MrPC 12:27 am 01 Apr 10

The cost of maintaining call centres, mailout facilities, billing and IT systems etc to collect pittance amounts from a small population hardly seems worth it. Most of the $40ish you’d expect to pay would get eaten up by admin fees before a cent got directed towards the front line ambulance service staff.

Better to leave all the clerical overheads to third parties (health insurers) who have all these systems, staffing structures etc in place already.

luther_bendross 12:10 am 01 Apr 10

NSW is the same (or at least was in 2007). I also moved from QLD where the electricity bill surcharge seems to me to be a fantastic option.

grunge_hippy 10:35 pm 31 Mar 10

which is the smart state??

bd84 9:34 pm 31 Mar 10

Only a few states still have the ambulance membership, all but QLD are volunteer memberships. I don’t know whether having the membership scheme actually improves the services in the particular states, Victoria being one of them hasn’t got the best record with their service.

Having said that, it is also clear from recent media reports that the ACT Government has no interest in improving the service and is happier to go around shooting the messenger telling them that they have failed to keep up with the expansion of the city by not investing in new paramedics, ambulances and the locations of each station.

But is this really surpising from this Government? they’ve been living with their head in the ground and talking out their asses for the best part of the last 10 years.

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