It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare in the United States is sky-high. The cost of an ambulance ride is no exception.
What’s more, the cost of an ambulance ride with insurance is expensive. So what does that mean about the price of one without insurance?
Unfortunately, the costs that patients report aren’t very reassuring. On top of that, ambulance rates have risen steadily over the past five years.
This article will delve into the costs of an ambulance ride without insurance. We’ll also provide information on how to search for the best-priced insurance so that you have coverage in the event you need an ambulance.
What Does An Ambulance Cost Without Insurance?
How much does an ambulance ride cost without insurance? The average ambulance bill costs around $1,200 without insurance.
What’s more, ambulance bills are not bound by the No Surprises Act, which aims to put a stop to unexpected medical bills. That means you’re not protected and must pay the full amount billed.
Air ambulance rates are considerably more expensive, starting from $20,000 and reaching as high as $45,000.
With these substantial costs, many people think that it’s better to go to the hospital by car. However, you won’t have access to medical professionals and equipment that could save your life on the way. Plus, unlike an ambulance, you might get stuck in traffic.
What Affects The Cost Of An Ambulance Ride?
There are multiple factors that influence the cost of an ambulance ride. Let’s take a look at each of them in closer detail.
YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE
Generally speaking, most health insurance providers cover the costs of ambulance rides. However, this does not apply to all of them, and it’s not to say that they cover the entire cost. It’s best to check with your provider to see if they pay ambulance fees.
Bear in mind that most insurance providers will only pay the fees if your ride was medically necessary and was part of your insurance policy.
If you don’t already have health insurance at the time of the ambulance ride, you will need to pay the bill yourself.
WHAT TREATMENTS YOU RECEIVE
The amount of your ambulance ride bill will largely depend on what happens while you’re in the ambulance or at the scene of the incident.
Firstly, it depends on whether you called for an emergency (life-threatening issues) or a non-emergency (eg. a broken leg).
Next, prices vary according to what sort of treatment you received. For example, receiving Basic Life Support (BLS) may cost around $975. This is when you are treated by a paramedic or emergency medical technician and do not require cardiac monitoring or respiratory interventions.
In comparison, if you receive Advanced Life Support (ALS), this may cost up to $1,300. ALS usually requires more invasive procedures such as cardiac life support, cardiac monitors, and glucose monitors. The paramedic needs a higher level of training to provide this care.
What’s more, the cost also depends on how many services they used to treat you and what supplies were used.
WHO OWNS THE AMBULANCE
In the United States, ambulance companies are either governmental, for-profit, or non-profit. It is not possible to choose which company provides the ambulance. It’s based solely on your location and the nearest possible ambulance to you.
The cost of an ambulance from a private company is usually more expensive than one from a non-profit organization.
HOW FAR THE AMBULANCE TRAVELS
Here, it turns out that the mileage matters. Simply put, the further you travel in the ambulance, the higher the bill will be.
Does Health Insurance Cover The Cost Of An Ambulance Ride?
Of course, one important question is “does health insurance cover ambulance rides?”
Some providers cover the cost of ambulance rides, or at least some of the cost, and only when medically necessary.
When purchasing insurance for you and your family, you can check if your chosen plan covers the cost of an ambulance ride.
Remember that even if your insurance pays out, you may still be left with a fee to pay out-of-pocket. Recent reports state that many patients pay an average of $450 after their insurance footed the bill.
These surprise bills are a cause for concern amongst most Americans. And reports suggest that around 4 out of 10 Americans would have to borrow money to cover these costs.
So How Much Does An Ambulance Cost With Insurance?
Surprisingly, a ride in an ambulance can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, even if you have health insurance.
With private health insurance, you may receive an ambulance bill just short of $800. With Medicare, bills are just under $500.
Obviously, it depends on the type of plan you have as well as what services you received in the ambulance.
Why Are Ambulance Rides So Expensive?
The cost of an ambulance ride is unfortunately very costly. But why?
Ambulance companies state that ambulance rides are expensive for several reasons including:
- Round-the-clock staffing with highly trained personnel
- Limited insurance reimbursements
- Expensive inventory (eg. medical equipment, the ambulance itself, gasoline, and communications systems)
Some ambulance providers may offer a discount for uninsured patients. For example, you may receive a 20% discount for paying within a certain timeframe. Always try to negotiate your bill to work out a good option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I refuse an ambulance?
Yes, you are allowed to refuse an ambulance once it has arrived.
However, bear in mind that if you have had a consultation or an evaluation by the paramedic, you may still receive an ambulance bill. It’s possible to appeal the bill if you feel it’s unreasonable.
Also, take into consideration that you may be suffering from an injury that you can’t currently see and may not have obvious symptoms, such as internal bleeding. It’s always best to get checked out at the hospital to rule out potential problems.
When is it safe to drive myself to the ER?
Due to the high costs associated with an ambulance ride, it may be more cost-effective to drive yourself, a family member, or a friend to the hospital. This is a good option if you have sustained a minor injury such as a minor cut or sprain.
If you are experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath, considerable bleeding, chest pains, or anything that has affected your motor and judgment skills, it’s best to call for an ambulance and let them do the driving.
How are ambulance bills calculated?
Some services, such as physical examinations, are charged on a flat-rate basis. This means they don’t change according to the circumstances. Other services, such as receiving oxygen, don’t have a flat-rate fee so will vary between rides.
Typically, ambulance costs are also calculated according to the miles traveled while you are in the ambulance.
So how much is an ambulance ride without insurance?
The average bill is around $1,200, however, it depends on many factors. How you are treated, which company sent the ambulance, and how far the ambulance traveled are all contributing factors to the cost of the ride.
Finding yourself in an emergency health situation is stressful. But it can be even worse when you don’t have insurance. But worrying about the cost of a hospital bill should never stop you from receiving the proper care and treatment.
Unexpected medical bills can be unsettling. Especially if you’ve just undergone some kind of trauma.
To protect yourself from unnecessary stress, let Enhance Health take care of things. Simply give us a call to get started.
The take-home message is to make sure you get insurance to prevent challenging financial situations from happening again in the future.