Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Further Comments on Ambulance Service

Madame Elle thanks her Dear Reader Ellen for this comment:

I wonder if ambulance fees don't differ according to the city where they are provided, and whether or not they are provided by a private service. In my town, the ambulance service is run by volunteers, and there is no fee if they are called out but do not transport. That was the case in the previous community where we lived, too, although I believe that there the ambulance personnel were paid rather than donating their volunteer services.

In that last community that I just mentioned, we called the ambulance once when our little one got hurt and passed out. The EMT's came to our home, in the ambulance, with lights and siren blaring. They did a complete physical evaluation (not sure if or what personal information they asked for), and then left without charging us anything because it was determined that a hospital visit was not necessary, therefore we did not need their transportation services.

Even if they had advised that we go to the hospital, we could have refused their transportation services and transported the child ourselves, and they still wouldn't have charged us, even though they had come to our home with all their equipment and done the evaluation.

Maybe laws vary state by state?

Thanks again, Ellen. That is indeed the case, and Madame L should have mentioned that earlier, since she herself used to live in a community in a state with volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel. In that state, she also received ambulance calls, including some that ended with trips to the hospital, without being charged for them. 

Madame L has also received a second comment from the earlier commenter, pointing out that in that other country, the laws and billing practices vary from state to state and community to community.

In addition, Madame L should point out that the "old lady" she wrote about earlier was a Medicare recipient, and thus it was her Medicare account that was originally billed the outrageous $765---perhaps because the ambulance service was hoping it could overcharge Medicare---and the bill was sent to the little old lady because Medicare refused to pay the fee. 

Finally, with that in mind, Madame L should report that another commenter has wondered pointedly whether the personnel at the gym mentioned in the original question expected to receive some kind of kickback from the ambulance service. Madame L certainly hopes not!

In sum, then, Madame L notes that people should make themselves aware of emergency services laws and practices wherever they live and of their own health insurer's policies regarding ambulance services. Madame L will contact her own health insurer this week to find out if ambulance services are covered. (Madame L certainly hopes so, since whenever she calls her health insurer's office, she has to listen to a recording telling her to "call up and dial 9-1-1" if she's having an emergency...

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