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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:23
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Who Pays For The Ambulance Transport?

When you're calling for an ambulance, chances are good that you won't think to ask for one that's in your health plan's provider network. And in most cases, you wouldn't have much control over who it is anyway. That could leave you with hassles and extra charges for an out-of-network ride.

This spring, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts launched a policy aimed at getting more emergency medical services providers to join its network: It began sending checks for out-of-network private ambulance rides directly to plan members rather than to the EMS providers. The move forces these providers to pursue consumers individually for payment — a more complicated process than getting the money straight from BCBS. (Government ambulance services are exempt from the new policy.)

This is another wrinkle in the complicated process of providing and paying for ambulance services. Systems vary widely around the country, as does funding, which may be a mix of tax subsidies, fee-for-service payments and donations. In many places, municipal EMS providers respond to 911 calls, while private companies handle non-emergency transport, such as between hospitals and nursing homes.
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