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I cannot tell you how many ugly little bills from ambulance companies we have had over the years. They come and they help, but as soon as you are able, sometimes while you are still sick/bleedling/ they are getting your billing info. Insurance does not really pay for it, at least ours does not.

I am so grateful and aware that we are lucky to have health insurance. And C's seizures are well covered-- except for the ambulance.

C is a sweet young girl. She has a condition that no sane person could believe she brought upon herself. It is different if you are older and not as cute. If they think you cannot pay sometimes you get less compassion. I had this experience when we were dirt poor in Norfolk Va, We were Navy, but did not live on base. I woke up in the night with a rupturing ovarian cyst. Ambulance dawdled. By the time they arrived it had burst. I felt somewhat better. Then they just pitched me in the back, no bp, no history, no nothing. They assumed  I was just fine. I could have been dying of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or a ruptured appendix. They assumed I just felt ill and wanted a lift to the hospital er.

They also failed to make it in time for my friend who had a baby into my hands later that year. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life, but oh, it could have gone so wrong. She was very overweight, had high bp, and was carrying child number 6, at the age of 26. I guess you could say it was her fault, if you were the sort who wanted to look at things that way. She had had her first child at 14.

How does it work overseas? I know you guys out there are well covered. Do you have to pay for ambulance rides?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/05/health/think-the-er-was-expensive-look-at-the-ambulance-bill.html?_r=0

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
anteros_lmc
Dec. 5th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
Do you have to pay for ambulance rides?
Generally no. If you need an ambulance in an emergency you do not pay. Even air ambulances are free. Both my mother and my niece have been flown off the island in air ambulances in the past. I shudder to think what the actual cost would have been. Having said that, a did have a colleague whose wife broke her leg while visiting London and he had to pay for a private ambulance to transport her back up to Glasgow.
mylodon
Dec. 6th, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
What my Scottish friend said. :)
amaraal
Dec. 6th, 2013 08:31 am (UTC)
Here in Germany you pay ten Euro per ride yourself, everything else is paid by your health insurance.
They may send you a bill. I know my sister had to be brought to the hospital with a helicopter. That costs 100 Euro per minute and was more than 4000 Euro. Normally you pay 10%. If you are living on social wellfare you pay up to 80 Euro a year only, the rest your insurance. Good to know :)
puddleshark
Dec. 6th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
In the UK ambulances are free, as is all emergency health care - though everyone who works has National Insurance deducted from their wages to cover this and you cannot opt out.

Non-emergency health care is free as well, though in practise the National Health Service is underfunded and doesn't always provide treatments that you would get if you could afford private healthcare...
katriona_s
Dec. 6th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Paying for the ambulance? No, at least at the moment we don't need to pay here though recently there are the opinions that they should demand payment in the cases which is not the real emergency. The reason is that there are silly people who call the ambulance when they should call a taxi because the ambulance is free.(How disgusting!)
But in the case of emergency we don't need to worry about the payment. It's quite good, we can feel secure. Our family have called ambulance twice but never paid for it. It's difficult to imagine the life without the free ambulance, it must be quite tough.
ba1126
Dec. 6th, 2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
I have had two ambulance rides here in Mass. The first was very painful diverticulitis (I was passing out from the pain). The second was such severe gastric distress that I feared it was a heart attack. My doctor ordered the ambulance, but told me later "Next time, just get a taxi and go straight to the emergency room, it's way cheaper!!" Luckily, I am now on Medicare and both times my insurance paid most of it.
eglantine_br
Dec. 6th, 2013 04:38 pm (UTC)
The thing about an ambulance, of course is that they can do stuff on the way there, if needed.
ba1126
Dec. 6th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Very true. In both my cases, there was little to do as it wasn't clear what was happening. The diverticulitis was confirmed with MRI, treated over a week with intravenous antibiotics. The second one was resolved by a cardioligist and heart monitor as I did a stress test. (I subsequently had stomach surgery for the problem and it worked!!HOORAY!)
thistle_chaser
Dec. 6th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
Six children by age 26? Wow, poor woman! I can imagine the experience that must have been for you. I'm glad you were there to help her!

I've only had to be in an ambulance once. I think it was covered by my insurance at the time (I don't recall getting a bill for it, but it was a few years ago).
esmerelda_t
Dec. 6th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
I never fail to be utterly horrified by stories of the US healthcare system and to be grateful for the NHS which is much like democracy, far from perfect but better than the alternatives!
(Deleted comment)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )