“If you call 911 for an ambulance, it’s basically a coin flip whether or not that ambulance will be in or out of network.”
This word of warning comes from Christopher Garmon, a health economist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His research shows that 51% of medical emergency transport services will result in an out-of-network bill, commonly known as a surprise medical bill. Compare that to 19% for emergency room visits and 9% of inpatient elective services.
Why so high? Many ambulance companies are run by local and municipal governments. In some communities, there isn’t any choice, and the charges can range dramatically depending where you are. For example, in Moraga and Orinda in the San Francisco Bay Area, the base rate for one ride is $2,600 plus $42/mile while in Marion County, FL, it’s $550 plus $11.25/mile.
The cost for air ambulances are even steeper. According to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the average air ambulance bill is about $36,400 for transport by helicopter and $40,600 by plane.
Fortunately, there’s a solution. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) covers best-in-class emergency air and ground transport 24/7 from home or anywhere in the world, plus transportation of vehicles, children, grandchildren, and even pets at no additional cost. With MASA, there are no premiums, deductibles or other hassles. Pay once and you’re covered. Ask an AMBA agent about an emergency transport policy endorsed by your association. Learn more online or call 866-979-0497.
Sure beats flipping a coin—and flipping out if it’s tails.