When people require emergency medical care, they often have to be transported to hospitals by ambulances. Unlike with choosing hospital and doctors to ensure they are in-network for your health insurance plan, you have no control over the ambulance company that arrives to help you. If that ambulance is out of network, you will receive a large bill and a small time-frame within which to pay it. As you likely did not anticipate having to pay that much money, bills such as these are called surprise bills. But surprise bills can be generated from doctor’s offices and hospitals as well.
Five states have already passed laws that restrict surprise bills in doctor’s offices and hospitals. Congress has also decided to take on billing practices that result in surprise bills for unsuspecting patients. They chose not, however, to include ambulance companies in their revisions, largely because these companies are frequently run by municipal and local governments.
As Shawn Baird, present-elect of the American Ambulance Association, stated: “When we talk to our members of Congress, what we really emphasize is that we’re a little different from the other providers in the surprise billing discussion. We have a distinct, public process. The emergency room isn’t subject to any oversight of that kind.”
Ambulance companies, however, are much more aggressive in their billing. They send bills to you quicker and give you less time than other industries to pay the bill in full.