If you or someone you know has already been in a life-threatening situation, then most likely you have already experienced calling for ambulance services. This is one type of service that provides convenient health care in the most dreaded emergencies.
If you have not experienced this and you want to be ready just in case, you can ask around, “How much does an ambulance cost?”
Usually, ambulance services are covered by health insurances. So if you have availed one, you will no longer have to worry about traveling to your hospital.
According to an online cost helper, most of these insurance policies do not fully cover such services though. Instead, the policy holder needs to co-pay or pay out of their own pockets. The price range for co-payments starts from $15 to $100. On average, this costs around $432.
This price ranges depend highly on the number of kilometers or miles to be traveled during the transport.
You might be thinking, “This should be a free service for taxpayers like me.” Although that thought may be true, sadly, there are varying emergency medical systems all over the US. This means that private hospitals, fire departments and other private companies still have the power to charge, even when you are covered with insurance.
About BLS or Basic Life Support Ambulance
According to John Hopkins Medicine, BLS is an ambulance ride that is provided to patients who are not in need of cardiac monitoring. Simply put, it is a fundamental transport to the ER. Some of the health care situations that may make use of BLS are emergency fractures, transport of a psychiatric patient and transport of a patient to a nursing home.
About ALS or Advanced Life Support Ambulance
Obviously, based on its name, ALS services are for situations that are in need of a higher level care. Some of those that require ALS are as follows: patients that require cardiac monitoring, patients who are about to give birth or are in labor, patients whose airway is at risk, and patients who need to be urgently transported from one health care facility to another.
The need for either an ALS or a BLS is crucial in determining the total ambulance price. For apparent reasons, BLS is cheaper than an ALS.
About Air Ambulance
If you are looking for ambulance services that need to respond the fastest, you may want to consider calling for an air ambulance. But of course, hospitals would only allow such if the emergency involves extreme health care cases like cardiac or respiratory conditions.
The type of vehicle used for air ambulances also vary. It may either be a helicopter or a jet air. A helicopter is used only for short distance travel, while a jet airplane is for longer ones. Since these vehicles are high-maintenance, the flight fees are expected to be way more expensive than when you travel by land.
Only if the use is necessary, the insurance companies would cover the air ambulance expenses; otherwise, the price starts at $10,000. Other charges will include the fees for each accompanying passenger like a family member or relative.
Other Factors to Consider in the Computation
More than the type of ambulance, it is more important to note the location of the emergency in computing for the cost– the farther the distance from the hospital, the higher the fees. Aside from this, the costs also vary in the different cities and states.
In some cities, the citizens’ taxes cover the ambulance charges, so anyone can avail of the service for free. Some cities, on the other hand, do not have the same privilege, so the people usually have to pay around $400 to $1,200.
In the online cost helper, there are a few recorded ambulance price ranges in the different cities as per the private hospitals. Some cities like the city of Lima in Ohio render the services for free for those who are not insurance policy holders. In the city of Urbana, also in Ohio, they ask for $650.
The city of LeMars in Iowa charges $375 for a basic life support service and $600 for an advanced life support service. Meanwhile, the city of Nichols Hills in Oklahoma offers a membership plan in which a member only pays $2.50 while a non-member offers $1,100.
Preparing for the payment and payment methods will also depend on whether you are asking for an emergency service or a scheduled service. If you are availing this as early preparation, you may be able to get a clearer quotation since you have the time to clarify the charges.
There are additional costs aside from the actual transport service, such as fees for the medical supplies being used by the paramedic. Sterile gloves, IV fluids, syringes, catheters, and solutions are just a few of these supplies. If in case the ambulance staff used this on the patient, hundreds of dollars shall be added to your total hospital bill.
An added hospital staff or expert will also cost hundreds of dollars more. For instance, if a therapist or a specialized doctor is needed to assess the emergency, then you need to pay extra.
If it is not an emergency service, you may be in control of your bill by noting and eliminating on your list those medical supplies that you think will not be needed during the trip.
If you are on the lookout for discounts, the best way is to check all your options in the insurance policy that you are currently enrolled in.
If you are uninsured and there is an option to haggle with the hospital staff by telling them about your financial condition, then, by all means, grab it. Asking for financial assistance may earn you up to a good 20% discount.
So how much does an ambulance cost in a nutshell? Review these factors to stay informed and updated.
In other words, after a thorough online search, be vigilant in asking the nearest hospital if you need low-cost health care.