How to Save on Ambulance Bills: Costs and TipsMay 22, 2023 8:18 pm
It’s possible to budget for some medical costs. Some of our anticipated medical bills include checkups, vaccinations, and dental cleanings. The cost of some medical expenses, such as ambulance transport to the hospital, can, nevertheless, be a significant blow.
This unexpected cost could catch you off guard. You could incur substantial medical debt if you have not set aside enough funds in case of an emergency. Avoid going bankrupt while paying for medical care by finding ways to cut costs on ambulance services or negotiating a lower rate.
Average Cost of Ambulance Ride
Private enterprises, non-profit organizations, or public agencies can all run ambulance services. In any case, the cost of transporting a patient averages $1,200, even though this figure can significantly increase depending on the nature of the emergency.
Air transport can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000. Ambulance services that are “out of network operators” may not be covered by health insurance.
However, the rules are highly inconsistent. The common misconception is that ambulances only promptly take patients who are seriously ill or injured to the hospital. Ambulance rides to the emergency department (ED), non-emergency trips (such as dialysis), and transfers (from, say, a nursing home) that private companies provide usually cost the patient a fixed sum of $500 – $1,200.
An advantage is that you won’t have to foot the entire expense of an ambulance service. Let’s look at how you can save money on ambulance bills.
Who Covers the Cost of an Ambulance Ride?
After you have paid any necessary out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles or copayments, the insurance company will usually foot the bill for the ambulance service.
Insurance companies are the best people to ask whether a given policy covers a given ambulance service, how much of your money will be required to cover costs, and so on.
Patients may receive a separate hospital bill if they require hospitalization. Many ambulance services transport people who lack health insurance or cannot pay their deductible to a hospital’s emergency department (ED) or emergency room (ER) and then bill the patient’s insurance company or the patient themselves.
Is an Ambulance Necessary?
It would be unfortunate to end up with a massive bill because you called an ambulance when you didn’t need one. Use this guide to determine if you need to call an ambulance.
- Is your life (or the life of someone you care about) in imminent danger?
- Could your condition deteriorate on the way to the emergency room?
- Could moving cause further injury or complications?
- Do you require immediate medical attention from a professional?
- Is getting there in an ambulance much quicker than taking any other method of transportation?
- Would you consider using a NEMT service if it weren’t an emergency?
- Do you require ASL or BSL ambulance services?
Get Your Insurance Company to Pay for It.
Your health insurance carrier may assist with the cost of ambulance transport to the hospital if you need urgent medical attention, although this may vary by policy. Ambulance fee coverage may be subject to additional conditions and regulations, so reviewing your particular health insurance policy is essential.
Negotiating an Ambulance Bill
Don’t stress if you recently received an ambulance bill and aren’t receiving the assistance you expected from your insurance. There’s still a chance you can reduce your ambulance bill to something you’re comfortable paying.
Check Your Bill to Ensure Appropriate Insurance Codes Were Used
Insurance policies often only cover ambulance rides to the hospital in cases of extreme urgency. If possible, ensure your insurance company is billed by requesting that the ambulance service change any non-emergency codes on the bill to emergency ones. You can use the following checklist to describe why you were experiencing an emergency; you will be able to present your case more persuasively.
Check Any Mistakes by Requesting a Detailed Invoice
In the same way that you would request an itemized bill from a healthcare provider if you were contesting a medical bill, the ambulance service you used should also give you one. Ensure you’ve received all the services you’re being charged for.
Negotiate a Lower Price if You Can
You can negotiate a lesser price with the ambulance service if you can’t afford to pay the entire sum. They expect a payment, so come up with a sum fair to the ambulance service and within your means.
Set up an Ambulance Bill Payment Plan
Like other significant expenditures, you can pay an ambulance bill in installments over time. Work out a payment schedule with the more manageable ambulance service.
How to Not Pay an Ambulance Bill
Sometimes, ambulance services are too expensive. If you can’t pay the ambulance cost, the first thing to do is contact your insurance provider. You can negotiate a more manageable payment schedule with your insurer, or they might even pay more.
If you don’t have health insurance, the ambulance service may be willing to work out a payment plan. In addition, you can inquire about financial aid programs directly from the hospital.
Another alternative is to reach out to supportive people like family and friends for assistance during this difficult time. You can always talk to the media if none of these options work. Hopefully, a consumer affairs reporter will write about the ambulance service’s billing practices and pressure the service to reduce or even write off the bill entirely.
Financial Aid for Ambulance Bills
Some organizations provide grants and loans to those in need. However, there are federally mandated income thresholds that you must meet before receiving aid.
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Contact our team at Around the Sound to learn how our transportation services may lessen your financial burden and prepare you for future storms. Call (253) 858-7088 to speak with us, or go online to request a ride today.
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