Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
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I’ve never been taken to the Emergency Room in an ambulance. But I assumed that such an emergency trip would be provided free of charge.
Well, I was wrong. Not in America.
Thirty years ago ambulance rides were generally provided free of charge, underwritten by taxpayers as a municipal service or provided by volunteers. Today, like the rest of the health care system in the United States, most ambulance services operate as businesses and contribute to America’s escalating medical bills. Often, they are a high-cost prequel to expensive emergency room visits.
Although ambulances are often requested by a bystander or summoned by 911 dispatchers, they are almost always billed to the patient involved. And the charges, as well as insurance coverage, range widely, from zero to tens of thousands of dollars.
Chicago, as it turns out, has ambulance service provided by the Fire Department—but, since 1985, with user fees:
As the city explains, “Persons needing these services within the City of Chicago are served immediately, regardless of income, by calling 911.” And then, two weeks later, the bill arrives. . .
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