Who pays for the ride?

Full story: Lowell Sun 35
The problem, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield, was obvious. A Lowell-based ambulance company charged $4,415 for a ride from Lowell General Hospital to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Full Story
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fruit of the loom

Westford, MA

#1 Oct 16, 2010
what a bill 4k for a 24mile ride to boston.did thay tow a full medical staff at double time.I remember the bill for childrens hosp life support unit to come to lowell then back to boston was half the cost of this ride talk about over billing.no wonder medical cost are out of control.
Peeved

Chelmsford, MA

#2 Oct 16, 2010
I had to call an ambulance recently for my teenage daughter. The ride from N. Chelmsford to Lowell General (a couple of miles) cost me $1,400 because of a $2,000 deductible. Would they negotiate and let me pay what they would have billed my insurance? NO. SCAM
Lowellguy

Lowell, MA

#3 Oct 16, 2010
And we wonder why we have a problem in this country with Health Care.I do understand that the Ambulance CO. must make a profit,but this fee for the ride is ridiculous.Itemize this charge so we can see just how much profit was made at the cost of the customer.Greed has taken over rational behavior.
signed off

Fairlee, VT

#4 Oct 16, 2010
They can't justify these ridiculous fees...Here in NH, I was rushed to the hospital from Milford to Nashua..The cost $700.00...About what one would expect...
Eddie

Chelmsford, MA

#5 Oct 16, 2010
Very confusing, so for $500-$2000 I can buy an elected officials vote for my company that will cost tax payers millions and before I dial 911 I need to call and check to see if I'm covered for an ambulance ride before I get my lifeless body into the vehicle, are they going to inform me of the cost prior to my taking the ambulance and what if I'm not able to talk, I'm not paying if they don't tell me what I'm buying first, oh hell, I can't afford it I'll call a cab or just pass away quietly without the phone call.
Lowellguy

Lowell, MA

#6 Oct 16, 2010
Eddie wrote:
Very confusing, so for $500-$2000 I can buy an elected officials vote for my company that will cost tax payers millions and before I dial 911 I need to call and check to see if I'm covered for an ambulance ride before I get my lifeless body into the vehicle, are they going to inform me of the cost prior to my taking the ambulance and what if I'm not able to talk, I'm not paying if they don't tell me what I'm buying first, oh hell, I can't afford it I'll call a cab or just pass away quietly without the phone call.
In one word I will sum up the actions of most politicians, Greed !
Wondering

Tyngsboro, MA

#7 Oct 16, 2010
It's cheaper to fly a family of 4 to Hawaii and back. Two profession pilots and a staff of highly trained crew. Enough left over to pay for the hotel for a week.
lowell girl

Lowell, MA

#8 Oct 16, 2010
So this is what Tom Golden has been up to all these years. I've been asking for so long...
screw ins companies

Lowell, MA

#9 Oct 16, 2010
Bottom line is we pay insurance to stay alive. Ambulances help save lives.... Therefore, Insurance companies need to pay the bill in FULL.

As for ambulance companies, you need to remember its about saving lives not money.
Im sure you come out with a gold lining in your pocket.

Insurance companies are such a ripoff......
Wondering

Tyngsboro, MA

#10 Oct 16, 2010
Peeved wrote:
I had to call an ambulance recently for my teenage daughter. The ride from N. Chelmsford to Lowell General (a couple of miles) cost me $1,400 because of a $2,000 deductible. Would they negotiate and let me pay what they would have billed my insurance? NO. SCAM
We have one of those $2,000 deductible policies. Made a shopper out of me. Wife needed a blood test, BMP, basic metabolic panel.
Call LGH to see how much it would cost. I was told not to worry, they would collect $60 at test time and bill me for the rest. I said, that's nice but I want to know what it's going to cost me, I have to pay for it. After more persuading she looked it up for me and said it was going to cost me $120. There's a place on Rogers St in Lowell call LabCorp. They do blood testing so I called them.
I asked how much. The woman told me it was $65 if I went through the insurance and $32 if I didn't. I said I be right over. I paid the $32. It was $88 cheaper than the hospital and I'm sure LabCorp made a nice profit.
Interested Observer

Concord, MA

#11 Oct 16, 2010
screw ins companies wrote:
Bottom line is we pay insurance to stay alive. Ambulances help save lives.... Therefore, Insurance companies need to pay the bill in FULL.
As for ambulance companies, you need to remember its about saving lives not money.
Im sure you come out with a gold lining in your pocket.
Insurance companies are such a ripoff......
And the next time you buy a car or a house just pay what is being asked. Don't negotiate.
Knowing that politicians are being bought for $2000 to pass this and you say OK tells me you have an interest in Ambulance Companies.
OMG

Shelburne, VT

#12 Oct 16, 2010
it has nothing to do with saving lives during the time they are supposed to be training to save lives they cheat and make runs which only brings in more cash to the amb. company then lie and state they did receive the training this business has become very corrupt. how many leans does trinity curruntly have on peoples homes due to so called life saveing runs? pure bussiness!!!
Devils advocate

Webster, MA

#13 Oct 16, 2010
In the past communities would pay an ambulance company to provide the 911 service. Now the ambulance companies are required to pay the communities fees (dispatch, first responder, community events,...) in order to be allowed to provide the ambulance services. This puts great financial strain on an ambulance service. Then service zone agreements come into play. AN ambulance service better have units available, and make the scene in less than 8 minutes. Then the economy tanks. Fuel gets expensive and people don't have money to pay their ambulance bills, so the service has to provide "free rides" to many.
So the bottom line is, its not a ripoff, you are just subsiding the system. I pay taxes that go to the school department, but yet I have no children. Why do I do it, because I live in a society and enjoy its benefits. So personally I understand that when I call an ambulance to come save my life, it may cost me $4000. I am happy to know that they are available, qualified and 8 minutes away from me.
Andy

Westford, MA

#14 Oct 16, 2010
And who pays for the aliens,legal,and illegal? How about the homeless?
And....the flight life helicopters?

Call a cab
been there

Tewksbury, MA

#15 Oct 16, 2010
An ambulance company can make over a million dollars by having a contract in one of the Lowell suburbs. Paying a couple of thousand dollars in community fees for being the "exclusive" provider is a small expense for them.
Brooklyn

Canton, MA

#16 Oct 16, 2010
Cheaper to take a cab.
backdoor tax

Wilmington, DE

#17 Oct 16, 2010
10 years ago Lowell paid over 300k to the ambulance provider to service the city. Now Trinity is forced to pay the city 250k a year to keep the contract. Where do you think this money is coming from? It's a backdoor tax imposed on the residents by the city. And it only makes Trinity look bad for over charging. Point your anger in the right place.
Ripped off

Billerica, MA

#18 Oct 16, 2010
This is coming from a company, Trinity, that falsified EMT training records for a fee, and that hired EMTs who did complete their legitimate training continuing education
soccer Mom

Tewksbury, MA

#19 Oct 16, 2010
Please!!! This is exactly what is wrong with the Health Care System. One doctor can't use another Doctor's tests so they get ordered again, ambulance rides that would pay for 6 rides to Boston, duplication,duplication,duplic ation, waste , waste... city contracts with hidden costs why not have the fire department take over the ambulance service I bet it is cheaper. This is why nobody wanted Health Care Reform all of these costs would be cut insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, doctors all would lose lots of cash that comes out of our pockets. He who can pay the most to the politicians win. Ever wonder why the commercials say you can save a childs' life overseas for $12.00 a month...because that's the real cost of medicine...Maybe we should start to demand it!!!!!!
Ambulance Exec Responds

Arlington, MA

#20 Oct 16, 2010
Folks,
As an ambulance industry leader let me explain.... this legislation would simply mandate that BCBS send the payment check directly to the ambulance provider (either municipally owner or privately owned) ; nothing more.... it will not cost BCBS any more, nor would it cost them anything less;
BCBS could still negotiate with ambulance companies to receive better rates....
Now, lets be honest...... if you received the $4400 check for the ambulance ride..... which by the way, was probably for a very critically ill patient who required a much higher level of care;
My guess... The patient was probably transported on a ventilator which costs $15,000; cardiac monitor that cost $30,000; IV pump that cost $4,000; and in an ambulance that cost $100,000; and $10,000 per year for auto and liability insurance..... plus the payroll, benefits,$3.00 per gallon for diesel, etc, etc..
So the real question is..... if you are out of work and behind on your bills; would you really deposit the $4400 check in your bank account and then write the exact same check to the ambulance provider when his bill arrives???
The answer is "no.... nor would I" !!!
Why.... because, its over, the transport is over, I'm alive and well, I'll never need the ambulance again... and even if I do; they have to come and transport me by law; They can't leave me on the street..... they cant say no!
More importantly... they don't ask for my insurance information until they let me off at the hospital.... they can't then put me back on the stretcher and bring me back to the scene of the accident....
Hey ambulance company... Thanks for the ride, you save my life... now I have to pay my Visa bill this month; don't worry; when I get a new job, I'll pay you $5 per week.... I'll have the $4400 bill paid off in 880 weeks, which is a little more than 11 years!!
But, I hope your still in business for the next person who needs your service....
By the way, Thanks Govornor Patrick for watching out for us "joe citizens"
Your a real company man...
Any by the way.... BCBS executives donated almost $32,000 to Deval Patrick on June 10th; look it up on the web; I guess we came up short!

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