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Report: Ambulance charges soar, reimbursement rates rise just 5%

The cost to patients for ALS ground ambulance services increased 23% from an average $1,042 in 2017 to $1,277 in 2020


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The language in this article has been updated to reflect the white paper identified ambulance transport charges for patients, rather than costs to the ambulance service.

By Rachel Engel

NEW YORK — According to a study from FAIR Health, the patients’ costs for ground ambulance transports increased by 56% over a three-year period, jumping from $486 in 2017 to $758 in 2020.

Additionally, the fees for providing ALS ground ambulance services increased from an average $1,042 to $1,277 during the same period – a 22.6% increase.

Despite the increase in costs to patients, Medicare reimbursements for ground ambulance transports increased just 5%, from $441 to $463.

The findings were concluded from FAIR Health’s recent white, paper, “Ground Ambulance Services in the United States: A Study of Private Healthcare.”

The increased fees may come as a surprise to patients on their bill, as ambulances are not covered by the recent law that bans surprise medical bills, Axios reported.

“Ground ambulance services have been the subject of substantial policy interest,” FAIR Health President Robin Gelbrud said in a press release. “We hope that this study of ground ambulance transport proves useful to policy makers, researchers, payors, providers and consumers seeking to better understand this component of the healthcare system.”

Read the full white paper below: