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Insurance Consumer Advocate

Sha'Ron James


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Mailing: 200 East Gaines St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0308

For Consumer Assistance:
Contact the Division of
Consumer Services within the
Department of Financial Services

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Consumer Services
Toll-free in Florida
1-877-MY-FL-CFO
(1-877-693-5236)
Out of State
(850) 413-3089
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(850) 413-3033

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Surprise ambulance bills: Use Uber if not dying, commenter says

 

Date: October 20, 2016
Source: Palm Beach Post
Author:  Charles Elmore

 

This week’s story on surprise ambulance charges prompted several commenters to say taxes should pay for ambulance rides and not leave consumers scared to call 911 because their out-of-pocket costs can be several hundred dollars to more than $1,000 — or even $37,000 for an air ambulance.

“There should be regulation for this,” a commenter said. “I had a Tequesta ambulance ride where I was billed $386 AFTER the insurance copay. The Fire chief called me after I sent a letter saying insurance had paid, and he was very irate, said insurance didn’t set his costs. They were used for transport only no medical treatment. I paid the bill, but I will have to really be convinced I am dying before a call to EMS goes out again. USE UBER if you are not in fear of dying.”

Tequesta Fire Chief Joel A. Medina said by telephone Thursday he does not recall such a conversation, but as a taxpayer himself he is appreciative when the village keeps down the tax rate. Taxes do contribute to the ambulance budget but do not cover it all, he said. As for billing, the charge for a typical ambulance ride has climbed only slightly to $435 from $400 in five years, he said.

“I can just tell you this, in the village of Tequesta we have painfully done everything we can to reduce costs,” Medina said.

As The Palm Beach Post reported, a state working group has begun considering possible solutions after ambulances were exempted from a bill limiting other kinds of surprise medical charges this spring.

Another story commenter said, “Our taxes should cover ambulances including air. It’s a service that we and/or our family members will likely need some day and it would be good to be able to have a life saving ride to the hospital without fear of bankruptcy for yourself or your family members.”

If you feel strongly about this, don’t keep it to yourself. State officials need to know as they consider what it anything to do about this.

Upset about an ambulance bill? Tell state officials

Florida Department of Financial Services

Toll-free in Florida

1-877-MY-FL-CFO

(1-877-693-5236)

http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/Consumers/

To contact the emergency transportation working group:

http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/ICA/EmergencyMedicalTransportation.htm