Emergencies can happen at any given moment, hence the name “emergency”, and most of the time if a friend or loved one has an urgent health scare then our first point of call is an ambulance. But while it may seem like a cost that is covered by the public health system, many have yet to discover that it isn’t once they receive a bill in the mail.

Research conducted by found that one in three Australians are under the impression that ambulances are covered by Medicare, and out of the 2,085 people Finder surveyed, 30 per cent believed that the cost of ambulance services was fully paid by the government.

When in actual fact, the only time you avoid covering the costs of an ambulance is if you’re in possession of a concession or health care card. Results of the study also showed that 21 per cent of people surveyed have previously called emergency services for a non-life-threatening issue and had to pay a hefty bill out of their own pockets as an aftermath.

“This research shows that many Australians think that, like other essential medical expenses, the cost of using ambulance transport is covered by Medicare, and unfortunately this isn’t true,” says insurance expert at Bessie Hassan. “While some states do cover ambulance callout costs, most don’t, and it can cost thousands in some cases.”

The cost of ambulance callouts in Australia:

* Victoria: $1,776 for an emergency (rural), $1,204 if you’re not rural.

* South Australia: $976 for an emergency, then $5.60 per kilometre.

* Western Australia: $967 for an emergency.

* Australian Capital Territory: $959 for an emergency, then $13.00 per kilometre travelled outside the ACT.

* Northern Territory: $790 for an emergency, then $5.10 per kilometre.

* New South Wales: $382 for an emergency, plus $3.44 per kilometre.

* Queensland & Tasmania: Free.

Do you think it's fair to charge for an ambulance? Let us know in the comments. 

Article created in partnership with Over60