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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Ambulance

Ambulance Cost


How Much Does an Ambulance Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: $15-$100 Copayhigh costWithout Health Insurance: $0-$1,200+
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  Typical costs:
  • Ambulance service typically is covered by health insurance when medically necessary. For example, BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama[1] offers coverage for medically necessary ambulance transport, to the nearest facility that can treat the patient, on many policies. For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for ambulance service typically consist of a copay of $15 to $100 or more or coinsurance of 10% to 50%. Some ambulance service providers will "balance bill" -- bill the patient for the remainder of the bill above what the insurance company pays, if they don't have a contract with that insurance company; some states have outlawed this practice. According to Woodburn Ambulance Service in Woodburn, OR, their patients with commercial insurance pay an average of $432 out of pocket.
  • For patients without health insurance, ambulance service cost typically depends on location, whether the trip is for an emergency or scheduled transport, how many miles the patient travels and whether basic life support or advanced life support is needed. The cost can be nothing out-of-pocket in cities where services are covered by taxes, but usually ranges from less than $400 to $1,200 or more plus mileage. For example, in Lima, OH, taxes pay for any ambulance services not covered by insurance, so residents do not receive a bill. The city of LeMars, IA, charges $375 for non-emergency basic life support service up to $600 for emergency service with advanced life support. The city of Urbana, OH, charges $650. The city of Nichols Hills, OK[2] , offers a membership plan for $2.50 per month for ambulance rides at no out-of-pocket cost, but non-members pay $1,100 plus $9 per mile for ambulance service. Woodburn Ambulance Service in Woodburn, OR, offers a membership plan, but non-members pay $1,220 plus $20 per mile per trip.
Related articles: Emergency Room Visit, Air Ambulance, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • In an emergency, the ambulance provider that services the location typically will respond immediately to a call. The dispatcher will determine if only emergency medical technicians are needed, for basic life support, or if paramedics are needed, for advanced life support.
  • The ambulance crew will assess the patient's medical condition and check vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate, and will determine if transport to a nearby hospital emergency room is needed. If so, the crew will provide needed care during the ambulance ride. Basic life support care, typically for non-life-threatening emergencies, includes minor treatment, continued monitoring, and possibly administration of oxygen. Advanced life support care, for life-threatening emergencies, also can include CPR, administration of medication, breathing tube insertion and other needed treatments.
Additional costs:
  • Medical supplies -- for example, sterile gloves, needles, IV supplies, catheters, and saline -- used during the trip can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the final bill. For example, providers in Los Angeles County[3] can charge $24.75 for an oxygen mask, as well as for bandages, dressings ice packs; they can charge $45.25 for a burn kit or obstetrical kit; and can charge $80.25 for an infusion pump or pulse oximeter.
  • If a critical care nurse or respiratory therapist is required during an ambulance ride, it can add hundreds of dollars to the cost.
Discounts:
  • Some providers will negotiate a discount of up to 20% or more for uninsured patients who pay cash or pay within a certain timeframe. For example, Lincoln County Ambulance Service[4] in Kansas offers a 20% discount for payment within 30 days and a 10% discount to uninsured patients. And Woodburn Ambulance Service in Oregon offers a 10% discount for payment made within 30 days of service.
Shopping for an ambulance:
  • The American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation[5] offers a guide to when to call an ambulance in an emergency. In a 9-1-1 emergency, the ambulance provider that services that location will respond; in some locations, there is more than one provider and it might be possible to request a certain provider.
  • For a scheduled transport, a hospital or physician should be able to provide a referral for an ambulance service. Or, the American Ambulance Association[6] offers a provider directory by state and city.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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Outrageous
Amount: $1,837.00
Posted by: numb and outraged in , AL.Posted: December 7th, 2014 05:12PM
Ambulance Provider: shephardDistance: 4.65
Called poison control center regarding being poisoned. They could not/ did not bother answering my question. They just forwarded me to 911. Since 911 has your info from phone the came. I did not ask them to come. They show up all 3-4 vehicles.
I am behind metal security gate standing upright talking to them. I say no I don't want to go with you.
They insist the have to "check me out". I go to bedroom and lock the door. The owner of the house is threatened, if you do not open this door we will break it down. So he opens it and door to bedroom. Two paramedics drag me out of house. I tell them I do not want to go, I want to sleep.
In ambulance on gurney I try to get up and leave. They hold me down and strap me down.
At hospital they have someone observe me. I ask to leave. They bring hospital gown and want me to change saying they are admitting me. I do not have insurance.
When the guy is not looking I walk out in bare feet and no cash and walk the 4.65 miles back home.
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The Reality Of Ambulance Cost Of Services
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: A Volunteer in Tulsa Area, OK.Posted: December 4th, 2014 05:12AM
Ambulance Provider: Distance: 0
I can sincerely appreciate the appearance of outlandish costs for ambulance services in our country. However, as a volunteer helping to manage a non-profit ambulance service, I would offer an explanation. On average, ambulance services recover only a small portion of their billings, about 60% but can go as low as 40% depending on the area. In short, those that do pay are also paying for those that do not. Even with this consideration, most may feel the costs too high. I would ask them to appreciate the costs of providing highly trained personnel, available within minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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Very high rates with "Superior"
Amount: $7,550.00
Posted by: TLA in Aurora, IL.Posted: November 21st, 2014 10:11AM
Ambulance Provider: Superior Air Ground Amb. ServiceDistance: 41 miles
My kid had to be transferred from one hospital to another and Superior Ambulance from Aurora to Park Ridge, IL charged $7550. Blue Cross paid $4730 (the maximum they would pay) and left me with $2820. I had no choice and no information ahead of time so I feel gouged. They can charge whatever they want and we are stuck.
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Home visit - diabetic
Amount: $2,300.00
Posted by: EJ7 in Manahawkin, NJ.Posted: November 7th, 2014 02:11PM
Ambulance Provider: MonroeDistance: 0
My sugar dropped in the middle of the night, our local volunteer ambulance was called, they called Monroe. Gave me an IV of sugar (a Gatorade would have the same effect), refused to go to hospital (they charge $16 a mile) and bill sent to me for $2300. I work, but insurance takes effect in 2 months.
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Ambulance Profitering
Amount: $837.50
Posted by: rickinvt in Claremont, VT.Posted: November 2nd, 2014 09:11AM
Ambulance Provider: Golden Cross Ambulance Inc.Distance: 41 miles
Non emergency transport from Springfield, Vt ER to Lebanon NH ER. 41 miles, NO lights/siren/supplies/EMT/movie/meal/ care....just a ride
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Don't I pay taxes for emergency services?
Amount: $531.50
Posted by: Chay in St. Charles, IL.Posted: October 29th, 2014 04:10PM
Ambulance Provider: Fox River& Countryside FireDistance: 3.5 Miles
I had a toe injury and could not drive because of it. My husband could have taken me but I would have had to wait. I could have and should have it I knew that a 3.5 mile lift to the hospital would cost me over $500! I have insurance but they denied it and put the amount towards my deductible! We pay almost $190 a year to Fox River& Countryside Fire and this is the only time we have ever used them so maybe they owe us?
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outrageous cost for ambulance
Amount: $1,459.00
Posted by: Veteran in WA state in Puyallup, WA.Posted: October 26th, 2014 09:10AM
Ambulance Provider: Rural/MetroDistance: 5 miles
I broke my ankle and disclocated it in Puyallup, WA-was not at home and was too painful to move. Dialed 911 and had no idea the rip off of private ambulances. My past experiences (w/relatives needing an ambulance-fire dept responded and there was no charge. Expected a bill of maybe $500-was appalled when I got this bill and contacted the VA to see if they would cover any as I am a veteran and get my health care at the VA. I called the company and asked them to send there. I later got an adjusted bill w/new total of $1111.50-still a rip off. I am filing a complaint w/the Attorney General's office and contacting Pierce County to express my displeasure-maybe if they get a ton of complaints, it may have results. Are they no price controls on any medical costs in this country? Are they allowed to charge whatever they want? this company is not even a local company and appears to be based in Texas. I am delaying paying this bill until I contact agencies w/my complaints.
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A 9-miles ride in ambulance with no medical attention cost 1200 in WA
Amount: $1,200.00
Posted by: TomN in Edmond, WA, WA.Posted: August 20th, 2014 03:08PM
Ambulance Provider: AMRDistance: 9 miles
This is legal rip-off. In my case, just a 9 miles ride from 1 hospital to the other without any medical attention cost me 1200 out of pocket. How can states attorneys and legislators let this happen everywhere. How much greed is enough ? No wonder medical bills and insurance rates keep going up dramatically everyday.
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Bay Flight Air Ambulance
Amount: $43,000.00
Posted by: Shirl34205 in Bradenton, FL.Posted: June 17th, 2014 08:06PM
Ambulance Provider: Bay FlightDistance: 150 miles / 1 hr heli flight
I absolutely agree that my son could not have been taken by ambulance due to the nature of his injury but defiantly feel the cost of $43,000 is way expensive. I could have hired a private plane, private doctor and nurse for half of this cost! He was brought back by ambulance three weeks later can't wait to get that bill and compare. I can't put a price on my sons life but they can't really think people can pay that amount.
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Cost of Ambulance in Dickenson County Virginia
Amount: $8,000.00
Posted by: just making it. in Clintwood, VA.Posted: May 18th, 2014 04:05PM
Ambulance Provider: Distance: 14 miles
Mom fell and Dad could not get her up. Called ambulance and they took her to the hospital. No special feat. Insurance and Medicare refuse to pay any amount as of May.
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AMBULANCE RIP OFF
Amount: $2,433.00
Posted by: PRETTYPAM in COVINGTON, TN.Posted: May 15th, 2014 07:05AM
Ambulance Provider: NORTH MISSDistance: 60 MILES
I HAD A BROKEN ARM AND COULD NOT MOVE. I WAS PUT INTO THE AMBULANCE AND WAS TOLD COVINGTON, TN DID NOT HAVE AN ORTHO ON STAFF AND I WOULD HAVE TO GO METHODIST NORTH WHICH WAS CLOSER TO ME. IT WAS TOO CROWDED THERE SO I THEN WAS GOING TO BAPTIS EAST IN MEMPHIS, TN. I THINK THE AMBULANCE COMPANIES ARE ABLE TO DO THIS BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING REGULATING THEM ON WHAT THE TOP AMOUNT SHOULD BE. WE MUST PAY FOR THE PEOPLE THAT CAN NOT PAY.
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NON EMERG. HOSPITAL TO HOSPITAL
Amount: $6,100.00
Posted by: Speechless in Rockford. in Rockford, IL.Posted: May 8th, 2014 10:05AM
Ambulance Provider: SUPERIOR AIR GROUND AMB SERV.Distance: 15
Speechless, I read comments about costs of $1,500 to $2,000 range and customers complaining. So what about this $5,500.00 for the ambulance $750.00 for 15 miles @$50 a mile. I thought it had to be a typo.The billing shows that blue cross/blue shield paid $5,000.00 and my part would be $1,250 I called and negotiated a $250.00 discount.Whats going on? This was a none emergency ride.superior air ground amb. service.
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Absolutely Ridiculous Ambulance Cost
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: melby in Harrisonville, MO.Posted: May 5th, 2014 06:05AM
Ambulance Provider: City of Harrisonville, MODistance: 17.3 miles
Statement: Outside Harrisonville-$790(did not need to go outside Harrisonville) 17.3 x $10.55=$182.52(to go outside Harrisonville). Isn't it enough to charge for outside Harrisonville, do they have to charge for miles too? This city has been ripping me off since I came here back in 2010. I was going to get up after bicycle accident and walk home but the people that stopped said they called an ambulance to take care of me. Did not need to go by ambulance, I was fine. Did not need to be in hospital either. Maybe the people who called the ambulance should pay my bills.
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Scammed by emt
Amount: $1,136.00
Posted by: Lukystarz in Mesquite, TX.Posted: February 5th, 2014 11:02AM
Ambulance Provider: Distance: 15 miles
My 3 week old baby was running a fever so we took her to the ER. After waiting in a room for 5 hours and finding no results from the blood work they decided it was an emergency and that they needed to tranport her by ambulance to childrens hospital. When I asked if I could drive her myself I was told by the hospital staff that my insurance would cover the ambulance ride but if I refused the ambulance ride my ins co would refuse to pay any related medical bills due to the fact that I refused dr orders. Just received a bill for 1136 that insurance will not pay any on because it is an out of network provider after calling the ins co they informed me that they cannot legally refuse a claim and that they would have covered the medical expenses if i had driven her myself. So now i am looking at 7 k in med bills from her delivery and 5k in medical bills from the virus she had and that is after my insurance pays their portion of everything!
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Ambulance out of state
Amount: $1,850.00
Posted by: KJG in Evansville, IN.Posted: January 22nd, 2014 08:01AM
Ambulance Provider: AMR of IndianaDistance: 4 mi
husband out of town;brought to hospital-kidney stone. Sent bill to his Father's address even though no association to him. Claimed looked up on internet and found his name. Both live in MD. Overcharge and wouldn't return calls.
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Rip off
Amount: $1,098.00
Posted by: Adam baker in Marion, AL.Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:10PM
Ambulance Provider: Care ambulanceDistance: 23 miles
Was put in ambulance with nothing but a ride. Took me to Selma alabama. Charged me $770.00 for ride and $328 for mileage. They took me 23 miles in an old ford van ambulance. Said my insurance paid $351 and sent me a bill for $747. A limo would have been $100 and a could have flown to l.a for only $400. P.s that's 2500 miles from me. What a rip off!! This is why people stay broke.
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Rip off
Amount: $1,098.00
Posted by: Adam baker in Marion, AL.Posted: October 19th, 2013 12:10PM
Ambulance Provider: Care ambulanceDistance: 23 miles
Was put in ambulance with nothing but a ride. Took me to Selma alabama. Charged me $770.00 for ride and $328 for mileage. They took me 23 miles in an old ford van ambulance. Said my insurance paid $351 and sent me a bill for $747. A limo would have been $100 and a could have flown to l.a for only $400. P.s that's 2500 miles from me. What a rip off!! This is why people stay broke.
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$2,010 to go less than a mile with no treatment...in a fire truck!
Amount: $2,010.00
Posted by: a user in Cambridge, MA.Posted: July 9th, 2013 08:07AM
Ambulance Provider: Pro EMSDistance: 0.8 miles
This was from a 911 call and being picked up by a fire truck and firemen and taken less than 0.5 miles away, which literally took 2 minutes driving and probably 15 minutes total from fire station garage and back. Even though the firemen and fire truck are paid for out of our tax dollars, somehow some private company is allowed to charge whatever they want on top of that.
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Way too expensive for nothing
Amount: $746.68
Posted by: Yadada in Seattle, WA.Posted: July 2nd, 2013 09:07AM
Ambulance Provider: American Medical ResponseDistance: Across the street from my home
My friends called the cops because of suicidal ideations. When the cops came, I just wanted them to take the gun away. They had called the ambulance and when I replied that I wasn't going and that I was uninsured, they told me it would be free. They handcuffed me and forced me onto the gurney to be taken across the street from my home. I wasn't even able to get admitted into the ER because they then decided to take me to the psych ward of the jail. I was finally released with no charges - yet I have this bill that I can't afford to pay. I'm uninsured and am struggling to pay rent. Talk about getting screwed over twice.
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Excessive Ambulance Bill
Amount: $883.95
Posted by: can say because ambulance co to close in Dexter, MO.Posted: June 4th, 2013 08:06AM
Ambulance Provider: Stoddard County AmbulanceDistance: 30 miles
Stuck an IV in my arm for the 30 mile trip so that I would not starve - advise them that I probably would not starve to death in 30 miles. Thier reply was that it was standard procedure (cost of IV $150.00) Provided no other care but the ride.Could have hired a limo for $200.
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External Resources:
  1.  /www.bcbsal.org/providers/helpful/Ambulance%20Coverage%20Policy.cfm
  2.  www.nicholshills.net/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=85
  3.  fire.ci.glendale.ca.us/pdf/AmbulanceRates070110.pdf
  4.  www.lincolncoks.com/Ambulance/GeneralInformation/PatientBilling/FinancialAssistanceProg...
  5.  www.EmergencyCareforYou.org/EmergencyManual/IsItAnEmergency/Default.aspx?id=130
  6.  www.the-aaa.org/DIRECTORY/memberlocator.asp
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