Why Ambulance Rides Are Expensive In The United States

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Everyone in the United States is aware of the expensive medical bills in the country. And calling for an ambulance in a medical emergency is considered as a financial gamble. According to studies, 71% of all ambulance service providers do not take insurance of the patient. And the same study found out that 79% of patients who took an ambulance ride are possible of receiving a surprise bill around an average of 450 us dollars. With nearly four out of ten Americans needing to borrow money for emergencies costing more than 1000 dollars, this expensive ambulance issue is a massive problem for the people.

The COVID 19 pandemic is currently testing the United States healthcare system at its peak. Like every other industry, the pandemic has lead the healthcare industry into a financial crisis. Every aspect of healthcare is relatively expensive in the United States but according to research in 2010 the average cost per ground ambulance transport was 429 dollars, ranging from 224 dollars to 2,204 dollars per transport. But this price varies from state to state, in Georgia the average price of a ground ambulance transport was 824 dollars in 2016, and in New York, it was 752 dollars. Also even within the same state prices can be different, as an example in Lake City, Florida the average charge is around 463 dollars and in Tallahassee, Florida the cost was around 680 dollars. 

When it comes to calculating an ambulance transport cost, many factors needed to be considered,

-type of ambulance used

-medical services rendered

-how far the patient was transported

-state and city the ride was taken

-whether the ambulance service was publicly or privately funded

Emergency medical services can be funded privately or publicly connected with the municipal and it can be working together with departments like the fire department. And it can also be a volunteer organization funded entirely by donations and grants. These volunteer medical emergency services does not charge their patients out of their pocket.

Air ambulance rides are more expensive than ground rides, on average it costs around 21,700 dollars per ride. Even though they are not frequent as ground rides, the cost is not manageable to many patients. Despite the low frequency of air ambulance ride, the cost has been increasing at a high rate over the years. And because ambulance services can charge any amount of money they want for their services, the medical emergency sector is also leaning towards a for-profit model for their provided services.

If the cost of ambulance rides become cheaper, everyone will be calling for ambulances for even the minor inconveniences. As an example, in Queensland, Australia. Ambulance rides are completely free, but due to people calling in ambulances for minor issues. Australia runs an educational campaign to educate people on the seriousness of the issue. For obvious reasons, ambulance rides can’t be made cheaper. And also on the other side, if ambulance rides are more expensive, there is a higher chance of a patient not calling one or going broke after going to the hospital.

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