Golder Ranch Fire District (GRFD) is required by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to charge for ambulance transport services at rates established by ADHS. This is a new charge for residents of SaddleBrooke as GRFD services were previously free. The average bill for an ambulance service is approximately $1,200, which is composed of a base rate of $1,056 plus 13.48 cents per mile traveled. This rate structure applies for all emergency transportation based on medical need, for example, to Oro Valley, Northwest or UAMC hospitals. Regardless of the type of transport service GRFD provides, you may get a bill. GRFD makes every effort to seek reimbursement, first, from the patient’s insurance carriers. Balances not covered are billed to the patient. The paramedic’s or EMT’s role at an emergency scene is to care for the patient, not to negotiate medical billing.
What do you need to do? Contact your primary or supplemental insurance carriers to determine the extent your policies cover emergency medical transport services (EMS). Generally, it has been GRFD’s experience that Medicare Part B and Medigap insurance cover EMS transportation. Please note: not all Medigap policies cover Medicare Part B. By Medicare’s definition, “Medicare Part B helps pay for this transportation when you have had a sudden medical emergency and your health is in serious danger because you can’t be safely transported by other means, like by car or taxi.” Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) EMS coverage can, in GRFD’s experience, vary widely from pennies up to $400. Contact your insurance carrier to get the facts.
GRFD has implemented a membership plan approved by ADHS to cover uninsured EMS costs. The Golder Ranch EMS Membership Plan costs $75 a year – and covers all household residents of a registered home. Its service area is limited to transports that originate within the Golder Ranch Fire District, which include SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch. Transports that originate in areas covered by other ambulance services, such as a small portion of Oro Valley or the City of Tucson, are not covered. The membership covers any residual unpaid balance for medically necessary emergency ambulance services not covered by existing insurance policies, including the uninsured.
For information about the GRFD EMS membership program call 825-9001; to join apply online at www.grmhs.org or go to GRFD headquarters at 3885 East Golder Ranch Drive.