If you are ever involved in a medical emergency, you may need to be transported to a hospital via an ambulance. Car accidents, heart attacks, strokes, severe seizures, and other serious medical conditions may necessitate immediate transport to a hospital. Not only do ambulances provide the fastest hospital transport, but they also offer life-saving immediate medical care that may be needed while you’re in transit. EMTs are highly trained professionals that ride along in ambulances, delivering the medical support that patients require.
While an ambulance ride can be life-saving and is the most reliable form of hospital transport, they aren’t free. If you’re ever in a situation where you need an ambulance, it’s important to understand the costs of riding in one and how you will go about paying for the expense.
How Much does an Ambulance Ride Cost?
The cost of a ride in an ambulance can be exorbitant. With that said, however, it’s hard to determine exactly how much the trip will cost, as there are a variety of factors that will affect the final bill, which could range from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s hard to predict how much the final expense will be until you actually receive a bill, and you won’t receive that bill until after the service is rendered.
Some of the factors that affect the cost of an ambulance ride include:
- The proximity of the ambulance to your location; generally, ambulances that are within the closest proximity will be dispatched.
- Whether or not the ambulance is owned and operated by a nonprofit organization or a private entity; typically, nonprofit ambulances are less expensive.
- The type of service you receive while you are in-transit; if you require life support, for example, the cost will be higher than if you broke your foot.
- The location of the hospital you will be taken to; you can expect to pay a higher bill if you are taken to a hospital that’s farther away and a smaller one if it’s closer.
- Whether or not you have health insurance. Just like in a hospital or at a doctor’s office, if you aren’t insured, the final bill for the care you receive in an ambulance will be higher than it would be if you are insured.
Health Insurance and Ambulance Costs
Having health insurance can affect the total cost of an ambulance ride, and it can also affect how you pay for the final bill. Generally, if you have health insurance, your carrier will cover the cost, but only if the trip is considered a medical necessity. If it isn’t a necessity and you could have driven yourself to the hospital than there’s a chance that your health insurance carrier will not cover the cost of the ride.
Ambulance rides are considered a necessity when immediate medical care needs to be administered or if you are unable to safely get to a hospital on your own. For example, if you are suffering a heart attack or if you have been involved in a car accident and sustained serious injuries, it’s likely that your insurance company will deem an ambulance ride medically necessary. However, if you broke your arm, chances are your insurer wouldn’t deem a ride in an ambulance a necessity.
It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t assume that your health insurance will cover your ambulance transportation just because you didn’t have access to transportation if you were not suffering a medical emergency. If you sustain a cut that requires stitches and do not have a way to get to the hospital, your health insurance may not cover the cost of an ambulance because you don’t require immediate medical attention; regardless of the fact that you didn’t have a way to get to the hospital.
Talk to Your Health Insurance Company
How can you find out when your health insurance will cover a ride in an ambulance, and how much your insurer will cover? As with anything related to health insurance, your best bet is to contact your health insurance company directly. It’s in your best interest to find out about ambulance coverage before you are in a situation where an ambulance may be needed. By doing so, you will have a better idea of what you can expect when you receive your final bill.
While speaking to your health insurance company, find out the following:
- What constitutes a medical emergency; in what cases will your insurance cover an ambulance ride.
- What types of situations will your health insurance not cover an ambulance ride.
- What percentage of the expense your health insurance will cover.
- How much of the expense will you have to cover yourself; for example, if you have met your deductible, what percentage of the total bill will your carrier cover.