Volunteer questions increased cost of interstate ambulance cover

UNHAPPY: Graham Barnes said that the increase of SA Ambulance's interstate cover costs were not explained well enough to those seeking insurance.

UNHAPPY: Graham Barnes said that the increase of SA Ambulance's interstate cover costs were not explained well enough to those seeking insurance.

A 32-percent increase in interstate SA Ambulance cover for pensioners has local volunteer Graham Barnes seeing red.

The former carpet layer and long-serving Lifeline volunteer described the $15 per year increase as making “ … a hell of a difference”. 

“The government is clearly looking to raise more revenue,” Graham said.

He said many people would find themselves interstate at short notice and still expect to be covered even though they were not.

Following the changes he said many people would not realise that they were not covered until it was too late.

“(Interstate cover) is not optional for most people … no one knows when you might find yourself interstate,” he said.

“All the years most people (have had interstate cover) you take it as automatic that you’re covered.”

He argued that the bill payment form did not adequately state that an extra $15 was required to gain interstate cover for pensioners.

“It is very easy for someone like me to pay the regular amount and not realise that you are not covered interstate,” he said.

In a statement released in July 2016, SA Ambulance said that the two-tier cover system would be introduced “ ... to provide members with greater control over the level of security they need”.

“Following the proposed removal of interstate coverage in April (2016), an independent review of the scheme was brought forward in response to community concerns,” SA Ambulance said.

“A tiered pricing system was identified as an appropriate option to cater for members who need nationwide cover.

“The tiered scheme will apply to all new memberships and renewals issued from 1 November, 2016.”

Those on family ambulance cover plans have been charged an extra $30 per year for interstate cover since last year.

Approximately 304,000 South Australians subscribe to ambulance cover which offers four membership plans for singles, pensioner singles, families and pensioner families. 

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