The Cost Of An Ambulance Ride - In 2023 - The Pricer (2023)

Call 911 for an ambulance and you’re most likely to have another cardiac arrest when you see the costs. Ambulances are not typically free of charge. They cost a lot to keep on the roadway and charge a lot to take you from any point A to a point B. Just how much will you pay? That’s a question nearly nobody is going to be able to answer for you, particularly not the paramedics.

Publicly owned vs. Private

Unlike police and the majority of fire departments, ambulances are almost as frequently privately-owned as they are to be public institutions (like a public fire department or a public health department). No matter whether the ambulance firm that comes to your 911 call is run by the federal government or a financial investment banker, you most likely will not have the ability to know which is which.

Paramedics are the same whether they work for the federal government or not. They don’t care about the costs. They will only care about helping patients and getting people to the correct healthcare centers.

Whether the ambulances are for-profit, non-profit, or publically owned, they’re all going to send you a bill at the end.

You might also like our articles about the cost of Coronavirus treatment, ER visits, and health insurance.

In lots of communities, ambulances are the golden goose that will help fund the other emergency situation services (or are believed to aid financing while not actually helping all that much).

Charges vs. Collections

In the United States, and particularly in the State of Connecticut, the sum that you will be charged for an ambulance ride varies from $0 (for non-billing volunteer services) to $7,000.00+ (for vital care helicopter service with a flight nurse, flight breathing therapist, pilot, mechanic and communication expert).

The amount that you personally will need to pay depends completely on your specific medical insurance protection and monetary circumstance, which amount will vary from $0 to $7,000.00+.

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That final bill is going to be quite huge. In the U.S., ambulances charge way more than they collect. It is that way all throughout the nation. The reason ultimately is the collection rate.

The institution owning the ambulance could send 10 bills for $1,500 each. 2 of the bills could be paid completely. Another one will be paid by Medicare at $450. 2 more by Medicaid at $105 each. The rest may go uncollected due to the fact that the patient didn’t have insurance coverage or an address to send out the costs.

When the $3,660 for all of that is gathered and balanced over the 10 ambulance bills, each bill for $1,500 ends up being a collection of $366, about 24.4%, which isn’t all that bad.

It’s not unusual for an ambulance company to gather 10% of its billings, or even worse. That’s not something unique to the business around ambulances – it’s an issue in healthcare in general.

If ambulance businesses aren’t making enough on collections, why won’t they just have the rates go higher? They could, however, just a handful of patients are going to pony up the additional costs.

If you raised the rates 10%, only the commercial insurance providers are going to pay the full costs. So after billing out $1,650 10 times, you’ll gather $1650 two times, $450 for the Medicare call, and $210 for the two Medicaid calls.

Medicare and Medicaid costs are set by the federal government, so they do not truly care just how much you charge. The uninsured clients who blew you off the very first time will still try to ignore the costs when they are 10% higher. And in the end, a 10% rise in costs will get you an additional $300, bringing the average to $396, the same 24%.

A Rather Complicated Billing

Part of what makes this whole situation kind of absurd is the procedure for billing. The rules for billing are pretty much impossible to figure out without very smart accountants. Start with the Medicare Cost Set up released annually by the federal government – what Medicare is going to pay – and add in complex legal “networks” of commercial health insurance providers.

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If you ask a medical ambulance biller to describe how the billing is processed, they will most likely be unable to do it in a manner that makes good sense. They can do the billing, but they can’t articulate it too quickly. It’s that complex. Because of that, the paramedic team that comes to your call will not have the ability to tell you the costs even if they wanted to give you this information.

Pretty Pricey to Run

Where does all that money end up, anyhow? Ambulances are expensive. The medic and the Emergency Medical Technician are the most costly parts of the full process.

You do not want to have a paramedic making a minimum wage reacting to your medical emergency situation.

According to a paper released by the General Accounting Office, the medical team comprises about 61% of the operating expense for that ambulance. Fuel, rental of the health center, administrative expenses, upkeep, and materials and supplies comprise the bulk of the rest.

You should add all that to the truth that the ambulance isn’t always running calls. The ambulance could only carry a patient once every 3 hours.

Ambulance supervisors will calculate a number to help them see how effective the ambulance business really is. Divide the full number of transportations by the number of hours each ambulance will stay in service. That’s called a unit hour usage (UHU) and is kind of an ambulance batting average.

Truth be told, a great batting average will be about what a great UHU looks like – something near 0.300 or so. The way to utilize the UHU to see how the ambulance is doing is to increase it by the typical amount that an ambulance trip makes ($366, for our particular example).

So, a UHU of 0.300 increased by a typical ambulance journey of $366 would get you to $122, which is what our imaginary ambulance makes per hour, less than many physicians. Out of that, all of those expenditures need to be paid.

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Incentives to Carry

The Cost Of An Ambulance Ride - In 2023 - The Pricer (1)The trips or carrying patients are the only things most insurance coverages, including the insurance coverages run by the federal government, will actually pay for. They do not cover merely treating the patients.

A paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) might show up on the scene of a choking patient and carry out the Heimlich maneuver, ultimately saving their life. If the patient is seen as better and not needing a trip to the hospital, the ambulance that just made efforts to save their life does not get a cent.

They can bill for helping her out, and lots of ambulances do that too. However, the truth is, a lot of insurances will not pay it and most ambulance firms will not pursue it. So, when ambulance companies are doing the mathematics to find out just how much cash they’re making (or losing) they hardly ever count in the non-transports.

Along with the fact that carrying someone is the only way to make money, not carrying is the most typical way to get taken legal action against. Leaving a client at the scene of an emergency situation (and even an apparent emergency situation) is the most hazardous action a paramedic can take.

Proof suggests that paramedics aren’t terrific judges of when a client is not that ill. So, there’s a slight possibility they could be wrong if they will not take a person to the hospital and there’s no other way they’re earning money unless they do take them. So which will make more sense, taking or leaving?

What You Can Do

Firstly, if you believe you’re having a medical emergency situation, forget the costs. Go to the hospital and get better. On the other hand, if you didn’t call 911 and you do not believe you’re experiencing a real medical emergency situation, you can always take Uber.

You can always refuse treatment, it is your given right. Do not do it if you’re actually ill, but if you wish to save some money and you do not actually need the ambulance, you should always try to avoid using one.

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Alec Pow is a thorough and methodical Financial and Business Analyst with over 15 years of experience in financial statement analysis, Foreign exchange derivative hedging instruments analysis, modeling, and risk management, with a long history of writing for big news publications like Forbes,, Washington Post, and many more.

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(Video) Why Ambulance Rides Are So Expensive In The United States


How much is an ambulance ride in the US? ›

The average cost of ambulance services is around $1200. Still, the final cost can depend on many factors, such as the severity of care provided, mileage, the number of ambulance staff treating you, and the type of supplies used.

Why are US ambulance rides so expensive? ›

Why are ambulance rides so expensive? Ambulance companies cite the costs of round-the-clock staffing, limited insurance reimbursements, and expensive inventory as reasons for high consumer bills. Ambulances provide everything necessary to save your life in an emergency and stabilize you on the way to a hospital ER.

How much is an ambulance ride in New York? ›

The last increase was in 2021. Back then, the price for an ambulance ride ticked up 16% from $775 to $900. The fire department's ambulance service — which costs roughly $600 million per year — handles about 70% of the city's hospital transports.

What is the most expensive ambulance? ›

There are a total of only seven Lykan HyperSport units in the world and cost at about 26 crores for one. The car is capable of accelerating from a standstill to a 100 kilometres per hour in just 2.8 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 400 kilometres per hour.

Do you have to pay for an ambulance? ›

In a medical emergency, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. You will not have to pay to be taken to hospital in an emergency. A medical emergency is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. Read about when to call 999.

Is ambulance ride free us? ›

It depends on the ambulance company. Some may not charge you unless they provide transportation. Others may charge for being called to the scene, even if you aren't taken to the hospital.

Does insurance cover ambulance in us? ›

Ambulances are covered when medically necessary

In general, insurance will cover the cost of an ambulance when it is determined to be medically necessary. In those cases, insurance companies will consider the cost of an ambulance ride in the same manner as they would any other medical expense after a car accident.

How much is an ambulance ride in China? ›

A trip in an official ambulance costs about 500 yuan (HK$630) in Hangzhou, but the patient was charged 1,600 yuan by the fake emergency vehicle's operator, the report said.

How much is an ambulance ride in Texas? ›

(5) A fee of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per mile shall be charged for the transportation by emergency ambulance of a person to a hospital.
Sec. 5-02. - Emergency service generally.
Basic Life Support (BLS)$750
Advanced Life Support (ALS) 1$850
Advanced Life Support (ALS) 2$950

Does NY Medicaid cover ambulance? ›

Trips are arranged at the most medically appropriate, cost-effect level of service. These include public transit, taxi/livery, ambulette, ambulance (ALS/BLS), and personal vehicle mileage reimbursement.

How much do ambulance drivers make in New York? ›

How much does an Ambulance Driver make in New York, NY? The average Ambulance Driver salary in New York, NY is $39,821 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $38,274 and $43,895.

How much is an ambulance ride in NC? ›

Loading. How much does ambulance transport cost? $400 to $1000 is the fee for ambulance transport depending on the level of care provided. $17.00 per mile is the charge for out of county transports (out of county transports must be cleared with Medical Control at our sponsoring hospital.)

What is the fastest ambulance car? ›

seconds and reach a top speed of 400kph, powered by its twin-turbocharged 780-horsepower Porsche engine. The world's fastest ambulance has set a Guinness world record. Owned by Dubai Ambulance Corporation, the Lykan HyperSport is manufactured in the UAE by W Motors and was unveiled at Expo 2020 Dubai in January.

What is the top speed of an ambulance? ›

The fastest first responder ambulance vehicle in service is The Hypersport Responder with a speed of 395 km/h (245.4 mph) and was achieved by Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (UAE) in Dubai, UAE on 29 January 2022.

What is the largest ambulance service in the US? ›

Equipment Insights. The Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulance services segment dominated the market and held the largest revenue share of 64.08% in 2021.

Can you cancel an ambulance? ›

“And remember; please call 999 to cancel an ambulance if it's no longer needed.”

Can you track an ambulance? ›

Download the app from Play Store or App Store or simply dial the toll free number: 1800-270-911-911. AmbiPalm is the only ambulance services provider in India that gives the option of tracking your ambulance.

Can you be a paramedic without a degree? ›

To practise as a paramedic, you'll first need to successfully complete an approved degree in paramedic science or with an apprenticeship degree. You'll then need to apply to an ambulance service as a qualified paramedic and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Are ambulance rides free in California? ›

Ambulances are the safety net of the safety net; an ambulance service will never refuse to provide emergency service regardless of a patient's ability to pay.

Can you refuse an ambulance USA? ›

Yes, an adult can refuse an ambulance. The patient has to consent to treatment. Consent is either implied, as in the patient is unconscious, or it is expressed, as in “I have chest pain….”

Why is American healthcare so expensive? ›

The United States healthcare system is complex and most costs are market driven. High, unregulated prescription drug costs and healthcare providers' salaries rank higher than in other western nations, and hospital care accounts for 31% of the nation's healthcare costs.

What is Medicare Part B? ›

Part B (Medical Insurance): Helps cover: Services from doctors and other health care providers. Outpatient care. Home health care. Durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment)

How much is an ambulance ride in California with Kaiser insurance? ›

Emergency medical transportation $300 / trip $300 / trip None Urgent care $50 / visit $50 / visit Non-Plan providers covered when temporarily outside the service area.

What happens when you call 995? ›

For emergency cases, dial 995 immediately and SCDF will dispatch an emergency ambulance team to your location within minutes. For less urgent cases, you can dial 1777 or reach out to our Care Advisors at 6100 0055 for a non-emergency ambulance.

How much is an ambulance in Japan? ›

It is important to note that using an ambulance in Japan is free of charge, even for international visitors. Therefore should you require emergency medical assistance or should someone call an ambulance on your behalf, don't hesitate to use it. You won't be charged.

How much is an ambulance ride in Illinois? ›

Service Fees

Mileage: $16.00 per mile. Advanced Life Support I and II: $3,717.40 plus mileage.

Do you have to pay for an ambulance in China? ›

The ambulance staff will require you to pay for the ambulance in cash when you arrive at the hospital, so it's good practice to carry some cash on you at all times. Around RMB 500 should be enough unless you are very far from the hospital. There is a fixed fee for the first 3 km, and a per-kilometer rate after that.

Is it better to call an ambulance or drive to the hospital? ›

All of this can happen while you are being taken to the hospital, which is why an ambulance is a better option than having someone drive you to hospital. Don't be surprised if the paramedic team drives past your nearest hospital and takes you to another.

How much do ambulance drivers make in Texas? ›

Ambulance Driver Salary in Texas
25th Percentile Ambulance Driver Salary$31,913TX
50th Percentile Ambulance Driver Salary$33,202TX
75th Percentile Ambulance Driver Salary$36,598TX
90th Percentile Ambulance Driver Salary$39,691TX
1 more row

How much is an ambulance ride without insurance in Houston? ›

The city also realizes that there are some who will not pay the $13.00 per mile charge, because it does not collect a cent from the indigent uninsured, who account for about 45 percent of the some 130,000 ambulance rides from the fire department's EMS units.

Do you have to pay for ambulance in NYC? ›

There is a cost associated for FDNY ambulance transport based on type of services rendered.

Who qualifies for emergency Medicaid in NY? ›

To qualify, you must: Meet income requirements (have low-income). Be a NYS resident (temporary lawful residents do not have to meet the State residency requirement). All hospitals must treat you if you have a medical emergency, regardless of your ability to pay.

Does Medicaid cover ER visits NYC? ›

Each state has two sets of Medicaid benefits: those that are required by the federal government to be offered (mandatory) and those that the state chooses to offer on its own (optional). Emergency room care is a mandatory benefit that Medicaid covers in every state.

How much does a 911 operator get paid in NYC? ›

Starting salary ranges from $39,329 to $45,228. Potential maximum salary of $53,251 after 3 years of service.

How much do ER doctors make NYC? ›

How much does a Physician - Emergency Room make in New York? The average Physician - Emergency Room salary in New York is $384,013 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $325,128 and $431,171.

How does an ambulance make money? ›

On average, ambulance services make a small profit on Medicare payments, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. If a patient uses a basic life support ambulance in an emergency, in an urban area, for instance, Medicare payments range from $324 to $453, plus $7.29 per mile.

Does NC Medicaid cover ambulance rides? ›

Ambulance services provide medically necessary treatment for NC Medicaid Program or NC Health Choice beneficiaries. Transport is provided only if the beneficiary's medical condition is such that the use of any other means of transportation is contraindicated.

How much does an ambulance ride cost Charlotte NC? ›

CHARLOTTE — The average cost of ambulance ride is over $1,000, which can be too great of an expense for some families.

Does BCBS NC cover ambulance rides? ›

Ambulance and medical transport services may involve ground, air or sea transport in both emergency and non-emergency situations. BCBSNC will provide coverage for Ambulance and Medical Transport Services when they are determined to be medically necessary because the medical criteria and guidelines shown below are met.

Can ambulances go past the speed limit? ›

What is the speed limit for an ambulance? An ambulance has to obey the same traffic laws (including speed limits) as other vehicles unless it is an emergency situation. In an emergency an ambulance gets dispensation from obeying certain traffic laws including the speed limit.

Is it faster to call an ambulance or drive? ›

Calling 911 Can Mean Quicker Care.

If your loved one arrives at the emergency room by ambulance, he's more likely to get medical attention sooner than if you drive, says the American College of Emergency Physicians. That's because emergency care is based on how severe the person is. It's not first come, first served.

What is the longest ambulance ride? ›

Longest ambulance ride with a patient: The record for the longest ambulance ride with a patient is 2,373 miles, achieved by Ambulix Fire and Rescue in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 312 Diesel ambulance between Aug.

Why are ambulance wait times so high? ›

Response times are increasing across all categories and are now well above target, though less so for the more serious categories, in both absolute and relative terms. This is because when services are under pressure serious incidents are given priority by ambulance services.

How long is an ambulance supposed to take? ›

Ambulance response times to life-threatening situations

The national standard sets out that all ambulance trusts must respond to Category 1 calls in 7 minutes on average and respond to 90% of Category 1 calls in 15 minutes.

How long does an ambulance usually take? ›

It should take 8 minutes for the ambulance to arrive if the call is life threatening or an emergency. Ambulance services often send more than one vehicle to try to meet the 8 minute target.

How much do Americans pay to call an ambulance? ›

The average cost of ambulance services is around $1200. Still, the final cost can depend on many factors, such as the severity of care provided, mileage, the number of ambulance staff treating you, and the type of supplies used.

How much is an ambulance ride in Texas without insurance? ›

(5) A fee of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per mile shall be charged for the transportation by emergency ambulance of a person to a hospital.
Sec. 5-02. - Emergency service generally.
Basic Life Support (BLS)$750
Advanced Life Support (ALS) 1$850
Advanced Life Support (ALS) 2$950

How much does 1777 ambulance cost? ›

Is ambulance free in Singapore? If you are facing an emergency, the SCDF emergency ambulance that conveys you to a hospital will be free. However, for non-emergency cases, SCDF charges $274. For non-emergency ambulances in Singapore, you can call 1777.

Does Florida Blue cover ambulance? ›

Ambulance Ground ambulance services must be Medically Network Non-Network 100% of Allowed Amt 100% of Covered Charge 100% of Allowed Amt after CYD 100% of Covered Charge after CYD Necessary to transport a patient: (1) from a Hospital unable to provide care to the nearest Hospital that can provide the Medically ...

Does Texas Medicaid cover ambulance? ›

Services, Benefits, Limitations, and Prior Authorization

Emergency and nonemergency ambulance transport services are a benefit of Texas Medicaid when the client meets the definition of emergency medical condition or meets the requirements for nonemer- gency transport.

Can you request an ambulance to take you to a specific hospital Texas? ›

Patients can ask an ambulance to go to a specific hospital even if it is on diversion. The ambulance will take a patient where he or she requests — unless, in the view of the paramedic crew, doing so violates local or state protocol or would endanger the patient.

Is 1777 ambulance free? ›

For cases which do not require emergency response, you can call 1777 for a non-emergency ambulance at a fee. Note: Charges are subjected to additional costs that will be informed by the Private Ambulance Operators to the caller/patient.

What is non-emergency ambulance service? ›

Non-Emergency Transport Service (NETS)

Our Non-Emergency Transport Service crews also go to patients in an ambulance. But they help patients who do not need the clinical skills of a paramedic, emergency medical technician or emergency ambulance crew nor an ambulance on flashing blue lights. Some of our NETS fleet.

Does Illinois Medicaid cover ambulance rides? ›

Medicaid covers Emergency Ambulance services when provided by providers licensed by the state. The patient must be transported in an appropriate vehicle that has been inspected and issued a permit by the state.

How much is a Chicago ambulance ride? ›

Basic life support: $900. Advanced Life support: $1050 – $1200.

How much do ambulance drivers make in Illinois? ›

How much does an Ambulance Driver make in Illinois? The average Ambulance Driver salary in Illinois is $34,805 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $33,453 and $38,366.


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