YOU ASK:

Does health insurance cover ambulance cost?

WE ANSWER:

It depends on the health insurance plan that you get. Some plans cover ambulance cost, while others do not. By ambulance, we don't just mean emergency land transport - this could also include air ambulance (such as Medivac or a helicopter).

Sadly, though, most standard health insurance policies don't cover ambulance cost. Otherwise, it may cover ambulance cost, but only a fraction, with the huge chunk being paid for by the insured or his family. What you can do is to check your insurance policy if you already have one. If not, you can ask your agent about this coverage to make sure that you get a plan that provides for this.

And, if emergency transport cost is covered in the policy, you may have to contend with deductibles and co-payments. There are also supplemental insurance plans that are sold to cover solely for ambulance cost.

Be sure to check whether your plan has this coverage since doing without ambulance cost coverage may cost you a pretty penny. Ambulance fees are based on the kind of equipment and staff provided. The ambulance fee for basic life support may reach $600, while an ambulance with advanced life support can fetch $700 to up to $875. In addition, you will be charged $10 to $15 per mile, as well as $20 - $25 for the oxygen used. It becomes even more expensive if you are involved in an emergency that needs air transport. Air ambulances can cost from $8,000 to a whopping $25,000.

Even with the implementation of the healthcare reform bill, insurance companies can still deny claims that they consider as trivial, which can include ambulance cost.

There is good news, though, for those who are on Medicare, since the healthcare reform bill has provided for an extension of the bonus payments made to ground ambulance services, for up to the end of the year 2010. Medicare pays bonuses of 2% for urban ambulance services and 3% bonus for rural ambulance services.

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