Friday, December 06, 2013
Getting in that ambulance can cost you
She told them to call her husband and he would come get her. But no.
We had a similar experience after a house fire--my daughter had been in the house--her room was totaled--she had some soot in her throat--the paramedics insisted on an ambulance while we followed in a car--$800. It would have been a $12 cab ride if we had gone that route--or we could have taken her in my sister's car.
It's against the law--at least out here in AZ--to force treatment on someone who refuses it. This includes ambulance or chopper transport. I did let the paramedics take her. I was pretty stressed at the time--I came home to a fire with firemen in the house, etc.
The NYT (Dec 4, 2013) had a story by Elisabeth Rosenthal featuring a swim teacher who fell and broke three teeth. She accepted an ambulance ride--$1,772.42.
Ambulance rides used to be free--a municipal service. Now, they are private businesses.
They are anything from fire depts, to hospital-run, to volunteers. The quip is that if you have seen one ambulance company, you have seen one ambulance company.
Medicare rides alone have gone from $2 billion in 2002 to $6 billion now.
Even under that Obamacare thing, you will make a copay under most of the plans--more than $200 as a rule.
Some companies also gauge if your situation was a true emergency--going to the ER instead of a low care place can make it one. Sometimes you need to be admitted to the hospital for it to be an emergency.
In other words--crapshoot. And you are paying something, usually a lot. One woman went 2 blocks for $900.