Eye-opening article in KAISER HEALTH NEWS on ambulance service billings, often in the thousands!
“Forty years ago, most ambulances were free for patients, provided by volunteers or town fire departments using taxpayer money, said Jay Fitch, president of Fitch & Associates, an emergency services consulting firm. Today, ambulances are increasingly run by private companies and venture capital firms.
‘”Ambulance providers now often charge by the mile and sometimes for each “service,” like providing oxygen. If the ambulance is staffed by paramedics rather than emergency medical technicians, that will result in a higher charge — even if the patient didn’t need paramedic-level services. Charges range widely from zero to thousands of dollars, depending on billing practices.
“While the federal government sets reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare, it does not regulate ambulance fees for patients with private insurance. In the absence of federal rules, those patients are left with a fragmented system in which the cost of a similar ambulance ride can vary widely from town to town.”
Be a savvy consumer of health care costs – read the article, discuss with friends & family!