Ambulance subscription / membership

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Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby open roader » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:26 pm

I can't stress highly enough how invaluable an ambulance membership / subscription is.......

A few weeks back I fell ill with what turned out to be sudden onset viral meningitis. My partner drove me to our local (Colac) hospital, however, my condition worsened and I was required to be transferred to a larger regional hospital (Geelong) via ambulance.

A few years ago when I returned to bike riding after a 25 year hiatus my partner insited we took out ambulance membership in anticipation of a possible spill from my bike/s. The pair of us annually subscribe to Ambulance Victoria with a 'Family' membership which cost us $150 for this year and a little less in the two prior years.

Last week I received an invoice for the (90km distance) hospital to hospital Ambulance transfer which came in at just over $2,600....... however, this charge is waived because I'm covered by my annual ambulance membership which at $150 this year is very cheap insurance indeed. If you can scrape the $$ together for local ambulance membership I highly recommend it on both a safety basis and a purely economic basis.

BTW, I'd like to thank very much the combined Colac and Grovedale Ambo crews who transported me, they are salt of the earth types and were a very reasuring presence at a time of stress and self doubts.
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by BNA » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:52 pm

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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby CommuRider » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:52 pm

OR good to hear you got that but I don't understand how they could come to a $2600 amount.

How?

I would like an itemised account of how a 90km ride on an ambo should cost that much. How much are they charging for the drivers, the qualified personnel , the rent of the tech equipment, the fuel costs etc. That amount comes across as sheer extortion. Sounds like an amount a fairy came up with.

I have a feeling the salt of the earth didn't get a grand for their service.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby open roader » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:03 pm

I have no doubt the salt of the earth Ambos saw only a little of the $2,600+ fee in the form of salaries.

The extortion is the cost of insuring Ambulance staff and vehicles........ medical related expences considered, I blame the high cost of insurance Ambulance Victoria is required to carry......
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby CommuRider » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:06 pm

Find another insurance provider or get a government guarantee to underwrite it. Can't believe this health system has gone to the dogs esp in ambo and dental areas. :evil:
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby open roader » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:15 pm

CommuRider wrote:Find another insurance provider or get a government guarantee to underwrite it. Can't believe this health system has gone to the dogs esp in ambo and dental areas. :evil:


I really can't complain about my own recent health system experience as a public patient. I was admitted to hospital in a rapidly declining state of health and was returned recovered to the point where I spent my 1st day at work today just 14 days post admission. Sure it says a lot about my own pre-existing fitness level and immune response but at least we have a health system avail. to the general public - one only need to look across the Pacific to see how a mutually exclusive private insurance health system does not work for the general public...... I'd rather a flawed system than none at all but I have diverged from the topic enough....
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby Oxford » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:40 am

Also check your private health insurance if you have it, often they will cover either the cost or the ambulance membership. In Qld, residents get free ambulance coverage. Had two rides myself in the last two months, no idea what the cost as they do not send the bill to us. But my mother did tell me her recent even shorter ride (in Vic) was even more expensive (cardiac facilities required).

It doesn't surprise me the cost. When I recently was admitted to emergency the first time, I had an ambulance and two officers tied up for 3 hours, then when you think an ambulance packed full of gear probably runs easily to $500,000 in costs.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby skull » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:51 am

covered under my health insurance, however as long as I stay sheltered in Tassie Ambulances do not charge.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby sogood » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:46 am

Private health insurance covers it thankfully.

Australian health system clearly have deteriorated in terms of cost to the individual. However as pointed out earlier, it's still way better than the US and UK (in terms of cost and services as applies). At the same time, it's poorer than others eg. Taiwan and Japan. At the end of the day, there's a price for health and it'll have to be paid through taxes or additional private contribution. Take your pick.

I remembered a time when an ambo ride was heavily subsidised and perfectly affordable, even for a uni student.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:55 pm

Private health cover for me covers it as well. Do remember many years ago an ambulance trip $365 and that was painful enough back then. Now I could pay that off in one pay day, back then took a few months to pay off.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby gorilla monsoon » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:29 am

CommuRider wrote:OR good to hear you got that but I don't understand how they could come to a $2600 amount.

How?

I would like an itemised account of how a 90km ride on an ambo should cost that much. How much are they charging for the drivers, the qualified personnel , the rent of the tech equipment, the fuel costs etc. That amount comes across as sheer extortion. Sounds like an amount a fairy came up with.

I have a feeling the salt of the earth didn't get a grand for their service.


Comm, I went from Phillip Island to a hospital in Mulgrave by ambulance (about 120km) and then I was later transferred from that hospital to another about 5km away. This was about three years ago and the bill then was $3600. Private health cover took care of it but there were a few issues with that as well.

For example, I had to show that both ambulance trips were necessary before they would pay the Vic ambulance service.

Ambos are not cheap folks and the man is right: even if you can't afford private health cover at least get some sort of ambulance cover.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby jules21 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:25 pm

gorilla monsoon wrote:For example, I had to show that both ambulance trips were necessary before they would pay the Vic ambulance service.

what else could they have been for? a joy ride? :x
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby wombatK » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:44 pm

open roader wrote:I can't stress highly enough how invaluable an ambulance membership / subscription is.......

A few weeks back I fell ill with what turned out to be sudden onset viral meningitis. My partner drove me to our local (Colac) hospital, however, my condition worsened and I was required to be transferred to a larger regional hospital (Geelong) via ambulance.

A few years ago when I returned to bike riding after a 25 year hiatus my partner insited we took out ambulance membership in anticipation of a possible spill from my bike/s. The pair of us annually subscribe to Ambulance Victoria with a 'Family' membership which cost us $150 for this year and a little less in the two prior years.

Last week I received an invoice for the (90km distance) hospital to hospital Ambulance transfer which came in at just over $2,600....... however, this charge is waived because I'm covered by my annual ambulance membership which at $150 this year is very cheap insurance indeed. If you can scrape the $$ together for local ambulance membership I highly recommend it on both a safety basis and a purely economic basis.

Peeps concerned about the cost need to get things into context. We're looking at a bit over a couple of weeks wages for the average wage earner. So is your life and health over the next 30+ years worth that ?

That ambulance fee was a lot less than a ride to the cemetery would have set your family back. And a lot less than the cost of dealing with any consequences from not treating the viral meningitis quickly.

In NSW, flag fall on an ambulance is $350 - but it's often worth it because arriving at Casualty under your own steam can be a futile experience; if you're not in an ambulance, you're not urgent.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby CommuRider » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:05 pm

Not everyone can afford a couple of grand to spend on an ambo trip.I can imagine a poor person frightened by the cost of the ambo trip that s/he'd rather not call in case s/he can't pay it back or will be in debt. Turning into the US system where people fret over the cost of healthcare, go into massive debt or have to choose over the cost of one finger to be reattached or not is where we're heading to. The ambo bills being touted here sounds like the cost of funerals nowadays- big massive shocks, debts being left to the family or estate etc.

So yes I still want to know why the cost of the ambo is so high that it is now really out of the reach of Joe Blow in the 'burbs. The ambo service is being priced out of the market that only rich peeps can afford it.

Scenario: Bloke suffering early stages of cardiac arrest, rings/catches taxi because it's cheaper. Dies en route to hospital. NESB taxi driver dumps body outside hospital.

You see this with 20yos who suffer alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses. Get into a taxi, poor driver. Lucky if s/he has friends to accompany him/her to hospital.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:56 am

CommuRider wrote:So yes I still want to know why the cost of the ambo is so high that it is now really out of the reach of Joe Blow in the 'burbs. The ambo service is being priced out of the market that only rich peeps can afford it.

simple - it represents the cost of providing the service. if you subsidise it, demand will increase in proportion to the degree of subsidisation and so will the cost. there's no elegant solution here - if you don't control demand for health care, costs will blow out and supply will not keep up with demand. my pet dislike is bulk billing clinics - invariably there is a conga line of pensioners waiting for treatment and unless you've got all day, you can't get in.

the only way it can really work fairly is if people are honest about when they consume a share of the finite supply of health care services. but on the whole, they're not and it is necessary to impose demand controls, which compromise social justice.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby CommuRider » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:13 pm

I'm happy to subsidise. My health insurance covers ambo for my family but do we really need to go back to that era where people die on the streets because they can't afford to enter hospitals anymore because the way the ambo is being priced out, public hospitals are next.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:31 pm

CommuRider wrote:I'm happy to subsidise.

i'm not saying you aren't, but i think in general this is a bit like environmentalism - people want to take action on it (Labor was elected on a platform of doing precisely that), but quickly change their minds when they comprehend that taking action means making actual sacrifices (note: not me, i'm for it). some other countries, notably european ones, have gone down the path of heavily subsidising health care (and other public services), at what is now being recognised as a heavy cost.

CommuRider wrote:do we really need to go back to that era where people die on the streets because they can't afford to enter hospitals anymore because the way the ambo is being priced out, public hospitals are next.

here and in the US, no one gets left in the gutter (despite the extremely misleading michael moore films). emergency health care is a given - the costs are chased up later. there's no question of denying emergency health care to anyone. the US also has a plan for mandatory health insurance, that ensures people don't fail to cover themselves. obviously some people won't anyway (such as the homeless), but frankly, a lot those people don't operate within the conventional economy or society anyway and sending them a bill doesn't change anything for them.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby CommuRider » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:05 pm

jules21 wrote: there's no question of denying emergency health care to anyone. the US also has a plan for mandatory health insurance, that ensures people don't fail to cover themselves. obviously some people won't anyway (such as the homeless),


Gross generalisation there jules. Highly dismissive of Michael Moore too (yes, he did the healthcare film because he wanted to destroy the industry instead of highlighting an issue where the USA pays more for health than any other OECD country to little result)

Here's one from Al Jazeera but I don't think Fox News will cover healthcare in the USA



I've had a debate with you over this before and this will go around in circles again so I'll stop now.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby skull » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:13 pm

here in Tas the ambos are free. And this does affect the availability and quality.

there can be a huge bog down of available trucks, as they have been stuck on the ramps due to wait times at the hospitals.

The worse part is due to being free and the hospital being in the CBD certain elements of the population have figured out they can get a free ride into town abusing the ambo service. I have a couple f mates that are paramedics and they say that if a person calls an ambo and complains of chest pains they have to take them in, apparently once they get into the cbd they feel better and just walk off once at the hospital.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:14 pm

CommuRider wrote:I've had a debate with you over this before and this will go around in circles again so I'll stop now.

i'm an enthusiastic observer of these things. my views have changed significantly over time. i see your and others' points of view on the matter and do not dismiss them, but have come to the view that there is no perfect solution. anyone (not you necessarily) saying "i've got the answer!" invariably must rely on ignoring all the evidence again it.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby jules21 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:17 pm

skull wrote:here in Tas the ambos are free. And this does affect the availability and quality.

this is where the 'michael moore' viewpoint goes wrong. a lot of people think that slapping a charge on essential services is inhumane, but it is in fact vital for ensuring their availability for the truly needy. you'll never hear michael moore acknowledge that.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:51 pm

CommuRider wrote:Scenario: Bloke suffering early stages of cardiac arrest, rings/catches taxi because it's cheaper. Dies en route to hospital. NESB taxi driver dumps body outside hospital.

"Early stage" of cardiac arrest? I doubt he/she could even make a phone call... He/she has already arrested! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

But seriously, Federal and State govts need to see the ambo service as part of the general health system and is covered by Medicare with a reasonable excess to stop people abusing the service. Fact is, there is no quality in health care when patients can't reach the emergency department of a hospital in an emergency.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby gorilla monsoon » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:24 am

jules21 wrote:
gorilla monsoon wrote:For example, I had to show that both ambulance trips were necessary before they would pay the Vic ambulance service.

what else could they have been for? a joy ride? :x


That was my question too but the health fund needed proof before it would pay. I think they had to know if I could have been transported by other means, such as private car, taxi, rickshaw, etc.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby peter » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:19 am

NSW ambulance fees (from 01/Jul/2011):

http://www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/Media/d ... 4e11-0.pdf

Call out: $320.00 ($252.00 non-emergency)
Rate: $2.89/km ($1.56/km non-emergency)
Max: $5,248.00

So a typical 30km ride costs $400.00. 60km costs $500.00.
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Re: Ambulance subscription / membership

Postby sogood » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:29 am

peter wrote:NSW ambulance fees (from 01/Jul/2011):

Helicopter rides seemed to be pretty cheap. ;)
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