How Much Does an Ambulance Cost?

You can’t put a price tag on your life, but the ambulance that saves your life will definitely charge you a certain amount of money. We most certainly hope that you won’t need to ride in an ambulance, but if you ever need to, here’s everything that you should know beforehand regarding how much does an ambulance costs.

Factors That Determine the Ambulance Cost

The cost of an ambulance ride is highly variable. Since there are a lot of factors that go into determining the cost, there is no one right answer. But these price-deciding factors are always the same. Which is why we are here to give you a better understanding of how much you might have to spend for an ambulance ride.

Cost Varies from Region to Region

Which region or state you live has a lot to do with determining the cost. Generally, a state with a higher standard of living has a higher ambulance cost. Again in some states, the state government takes care of the bills.

The range of bill may vary from 0$ to over 6,000$ (for road and air ambulances). In states where ambulance charges are covered by taxes, patients never receive a bill for ambulance services. Even if they do, it’s very minimal.

Nobody wants to worry about the bill while they are being rushed to the hospital. So the very first thing you should is research and enquire based on your region. This will help you prepare for emergencies.

Type of Ambulance Service

Is your ambulance service public or private? Are they a voluntary organization or a commercial ambulance company? Enquire these facts beforehand as they are significant role-players of the cost.

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may be charged more than 3000$ dollars. On the contrary, if your ambulance company is a nonprofit voluntary organization, then you might not have to pay a dime.

Ambulance Pick up Fee

The very first reason why an ambulance company might charge you is to respond to your call in the first place. This amount may vary from somewhere around 300$-1000$, depending on your location and billing system of the company.

If you’ve decided to call an air-ambulance, the same rate sky-rockets to 10,000$ or more.

Cost of Distance Driven

Most ambulance companies charge the passenger (patient) for the distance they (ambulance) had to drive from their station to the scene. The cost of mileage also includes the ride back to the hospital, and transfers between hospitals as well.

This cost is calculated per kilometer or mile. Usually, it ranges from 10$-40$ per mile.

Better EMT Means Higher Cost

During an emergency, the dispatcher decides what sort of response team should be sent to the call. Whether a paramedic or medical technician will be sent, and how many of them will arrive entirely depends on the severity of the situation.

The better the response team, the higher the cost. Unfortunately, you will not have the liberty to decide the expertise of the EMT sent for you. A highly trained nurse or respiratory therapist arriving at the scene will mean a surplus cost of several hundred dollars.

A better crew can be life-saving as most of the preliminary treatment starts from the ambulance. These treatments include monitoring vital signs, oxygen administration, medication, CPR, etc.

Insurance Scheme

Whether the ambulance service is covered by insurance or not also determines the cost. Normally if it is insurance-covered, then the insurance company may pay the entire cost of the bill.

But most often, the ambulance company doesn’t have a contract with the insurance providers. Therefore, they are considered ‘out of network’. Under such circumstances, the insurance will pay around 400$ of the total bill, and the rest of the bill will be sent to you as ‘balance-billing’.

Medical Supplies

Here are some of the medical supplies normally used in an ambulance. These may add more than a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to your final bill.

  • Sterile gloves
  • Needles
  • Catheters
  • IV supplies
  • Saline

An ambulance service may charge up to 25$-30$ for an oxygen mask and bandages/dressings. A burn kit may cost up to 50$, while an infusion pump or oximeter may cost nearly 100$ dollars.

Even if the costs for these seem negligible considered to the urgency of an ambulance, they can add up to a big amount very quickly.

What Should You Do to Deal with the Cost

  • Try to negotiate a discount with the service provider. Usually, there are up to 20% discount plans for customers who pay within a certain time.
  • If that is not within your financial capability, then ask for payment plans that may alleviate the monetary pressure.
  • You always have the right to refuse treatment from the ambulance. But if the paramedics at the spot are advising you medical attention, then consider obliging because you shouldn’t take chances with your health.
  • Contact your insurance company and inform them of the billing. They will most likely take care of it if you have enough evidence to show that the ambulance service was crucially urgent.
  • Read the EOB (explanation of benefits) sent to you by the insurance company, and look for the clause that states cases of a medical emergency.

No More Confusions about Ambulance Costs!

If you have used an ambulance, it’s highly likely that it’s going to be quite expensive, so prepare accordingly.

Lastly, the cost of your ambulance ride will strongly depend on which of these aforementioned factors you have taken benefit from. The purpose of this post was to provide an idea about how much an ambulance ride can cost you in case of medical emergencies.

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