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N.Y. governor signs EMS direct payment bill into law

Under the “Direct Pay Bill,” health insurance plans will be required to reimburse ambulance providers for transporting out-of-network patients

New York Ambulance

FILE: FDNY ambulances are seen entering and leaving the emergency room at Queens Hospital Center, Monday, April 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Mary Altaffer/AP

By Sarah Roebuck

NEW YORK — A new bill in New York will require health insurance plans to reimburse ambulance providers for transporting out-of-network patients.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the “Direct Pay Bill” into law on Friday, WROC reports.

Before this bill was signed into law, insurers could pay ambulance fees directly to customers unless they had a preferred provider agreement with EMS. EMS would then bill the customers, who were to pay them using the insurance money. However, this often didn’t happen, leaving EMS with unpaid costs.

With the “Direct Pay” law in place, insurance companies are not permitted to send payments for ambulance rides to customers; instead, they’ll be required to send the payments directly to the EMS provider.

Jeffrey Call, the head of the United New York Ambulance Network, appreciates that patients will no longer serve as intermediaries.

“Now, no matter if an ambulance service provider is ‘in-network’ or ‘out-of-network,’ reimbursement for every response will come directly from the health insurance company,” Call told WROC. “Patients are no longer forced to be the middleman in a broken payment process that oftentimes left out ambulance providers.”