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FAIR Health Analysis Finds No Patient Protection from Rising Costs, Surprise Bills for Ground Ambulance Services

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Axios reports the cost of an ambulance ride has soared over the past five years, according to a report from FAIR Health. Patients typically have little ability to choose their ambulance provider, and often find themselves on the hook for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Currently, no federal law protects consumers against “surprise” bills from out-of-network ground ambulance providers.

FAIR Health drew on its vast database of private healthcare claims to illuminate multiple aspects of ground ambulance services across the nation, including utilization, costs, age, gender, diagnoses and differences across states.

According to FAIR Health’s analysis, most ambulance trips billed insurers for “advanced life support”. Private insurers’ average payment for those rides jumped by 56% between 2017 and 2020 — from $486 to $758.Ambulance operators’ sticker prices, before accounting for discounts negotiated with insurers, have risen 22% over the same period, and are now over $1,200.

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