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Ambulance debt

Information about when a person owes money to a health provider like a medical benefit fund or ambulance service.

If a person is transported in an ambulance according to the transport provisions they are liable for the cost of the ambulance ride even if they did not give consent to the service. These bills can be expensive. Depending on the distance, it may cost hundreds of dollars if the person does not have ambulance insurance cover.

Person who called an ambulance is not responsible

A person who assists another person at the scene of an accident or in some other emergency situation is not liable for any civil action that may arise out of their attempt to help. This includes if they call an ambulance.

See s. 10(8)—Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Ambulance is free for health care card holder

Pensioners, people who hold current health care cards and their dependents do not have to pay for the cost of ambulance travel in cases of an emergency or where transport is recommended by a doctor. This includes an air ambulance. Send a photocopy of the card with the bill to Ambulance Victoria and the debt will be waived.

Private health insurance may cover some of the cost

Part of the cost of ambulance transport may be covered by private health insurance. The rate of rebate varies from one scheme to another. Contact the private health provider for details of their coverage.

If uninsured and no health care card

The person will have to follow the same procedures that they would for another kind of debt. That is, try to negotiate with Ambulance Victoria. For example, ask whether it is possible to have extra time to pay off the debt or to pay off the debt by instalments. A financial counsellor service may be able to help with these negotiations.


Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 10(5)—secretary of the Department of Health is able to set the fees for the cost of ambulance transport
  • s. 10(8)—a person who is transported by ambulance in an emergency is liable for the cost of the ride, whether or not they consented to the service being provided

See Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Ambulance Victoria

The ambulance Victoria site states that the ambulance service is free for people who hold a current health care card.

See Ambulance Victoria—FAQs(opens in a new window).