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Ambulance Bill - My Options?

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GabyBaby posted 8/19/2014 10:48 AM

A couple of weeks ago, I had an asthma attack at work. I found out at a bad moment that my inhaler was empty.

Coworkers assisted and were willing to go grab a new one from a pharmacy nearby, but the advice nurse did not want to send a prescription to a local pharmacy (I work 45 minutes away from home, doc's office and my personal pharmacy). She insisted that I go to a hospital.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place (called liability) the ambulance was called and I got to go on a ride to the hospital.

This weekend, I received a bill for that lovely ambulance ride, to the tune of $2,100.
What recourse do I have with regard to this bill?

Sad in AZ posted 8/19/2014 10:58 AM

Stuck between a rock and a hard place (called liability) the ambulance was called

Whose liability-your employer's or your physician's? If your employer insisted on the ambulance, I would insist that they pay for it. You should also check to see if there is an annual fee the ambulance service charges for that area. On the outskirts of Tucson, we had the Rural Metro Emergency services. If you didn't pay an anhual fee, you were charged every time you needed their services, be it ambulance, fire, snake removal, etc. If your employer is supposed to pay for this service but does not, it could bolster your case.

Also check your medical insurance; there may be coverage for this sort of thing. Do you have a medical savings account through work? That might also pay for it.

[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 10:59 AM, August 19th (Tuesday)]

GabyBaby posted 8/19/2014 11:04 AM

Thanks Sazzy.
To clarify the liability comment, I meant my employer/company was worried about liability issues.

I have a high deductible health savings account plan where employer contributes X amount to my HSA, I contribute Y amount, and that total is supposed to cover a good bit of the family deductible portion before the insurance kicks in.

Ambulance services are covered by my insurance, but I'm struggling with having to pay a bill for services for which I was pretty insistent against, KWIM?

tushnurse posted 8/19/2014 11:11 AM

(((Gaby)))

First I would make sure that the bill is correct, meaning that it was submitted, and denied, or applied to deductible.
Next I would thank your employer for the Crappy Catastrophic incident only insurance plan, and see if they would like to pay the bill since they insisted you go.
Next I would call the Dr's office, and tell that nurse she doesn't get to dictate your care, and if you need a med filled, granted you should have planned ahead, but shit happens, and now you have a large bill because she wouldn't send the Rx for your rescue inhaler.

ETA:
As an asthmatic you should always have 3 rescue inhalers, one in your purse, one at work, and one at home. You need to check these on the same day every month to see if they are full or close to expiring. If it's too expensive ask the office for sample inhalers. They frequently have them, and they are ideal for this purpose.

Glad you are better now.


Then call the ambulance company if your employer isn't willing to pay the bill, and see if they can work with you. While there are rules as to what they can charge, they often realize they can't get blood from a stone, and will take something over nothing. If you didn't use the monitors, oxygen, IV's, etc then it cost them considerably less than the amount billed. Just because you could have needed them, doesn't make it more expensive.

I fought an ambulance bill for $250.00 for my H when he had his heart attack, they were willing to wipe it off the books when they realized I knew they had a non function heart monitor, and took him to the wrong facility, that didn't have cardiac services.

[This message edited by tushnurse at 11:13 AM, August 19th (Tuesday)]

Kajem posted 8/19/2014 18:02 PM

20+ years ago I knocked an ambulance bill down 90%. I didn't use anything in the ambulance, it was a one mile transport to the hospital.

You can negotiate these within reason.

Glad you're feeling better. And I'd be speaking with my Dr. About his nurses lack of compassion.

Hugs,
K

GabyBaby posted 8/19/2014 18:04 PM

Thanks TN and Kajem!
I didn't have oxygen on the ride or was hooked up to anything other than a fingertip pulse/ox.
Hopefully I can get the bill knocked way down.

I will definitely speak with my doctor about the advice nurse. He's great...

TN,
I hadn't had an asthma attack in over 3 years, so I will readily admit I was very lax in keeping my inhalers stocked.
I have since corrected that!

tushnurse posted 8/19/2014 18:18 PM

Gaby inhalers are stupid expensive and I always recommend and do my best to make sure my asthmatic patients have rescue inhalers at their fingertips at all times.
As a former ICU and ED nurse I have seen the scary stuff that happens s when an asthma attack isn't stopped and progresses.

tushnurse posted 8/19/2014 18:18 PM

Gaby inhalers are stupid expensive and I always recommend and do my best to make sure my asthmatic patients have rescue inhalers at their fingertips at all times.
As a former ICU and ED nurse I have seen the scary stuff that happens s when an asthma attack isn't stopped and progresses.

GabyBaby posted 8/19/2014 18:22 PM

I definitely learned my lesson!

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