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How are ambulance services funded?

In Montana ambulances are not considered “essential” services, meaning they are not required to exist wherever a certain population of people does, and the local government is not required to fund them. Although many municipalities allocate a small portion of tax revenue to local ambulance agencies, this amount does not equate to enough to operate the service. That leaves ambulance providers to fund themselves by applying for grants, recruiting volunteers, and billing patients for their transports.

I have insurance, why am I receiving a bill for my ambulance transport?

Even with insurance coverage there is often a cost sharing responsibility for patients who receive ambulance transportation or services. It is also possible that you have not met your deductible, or that you are being billed for a co-pay or co-insurance. In some cases, the ambulance provider who transported you may not be in-network with your insurance company which sometimes results in a larger patient responsibility amount and may also result in your charges being applied to an out-of-network deductible. If you have a question or concerns about the way your claim was processed, we suggest that you call your insurance company.

Someone else called the ambulance and I was transported. Why am I receiving a bill?

The ambulance crew responds to calls for assistance regardless of who calls 911. Once they arrive, they provide care if necessary and allow a patient the option to refuse transport. The costs for running the ambulance and staff are the same regardless of who calls or the reason they are paged out. If you feel there is an error with your bill, please call our office.

I already received a bill from the hospital and gave them my insurance information. Why am I receiving a bill?

Your ambulance transport is a separate service from the hospital services and is billed separately by a different office. Please call our office to provide insurance or payment information.

What factors affect the rate I pay for my ambulance transport?

Ambulance providers face many costs and expenses before they even leave the barn to respond to a call. Ambulance vehicles are costly to obtain and maintain, recruitment and training of EMTs and paramedics takes time and financial investment, and the associated costs to house the ambulance and staff are also expensive. These are the costs for the ambulance to “be ready”. Once an ambulance is dispatched to a call, the supplies and equipment used as well as the time and risk incurred by the crew add another layer of expense. All of these costs are calculated to determine an average cost per run, and this is how the rates charged are determined.

I can’t afford to pay my bill, what should I do?

Please call our office. You may be eligible for financial assistance or a reduction in charges based on your individual situation.

I want to set up a payment plan; can I pay my bill over time?

Please call our office. It may be possible to pay over time based on the individual policies of the ambulance provider who transported you.