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does Medicare cover ambulance services

Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Services?

We all hope to never have to find ourselves riding in the back of an ambulance. Either on a stretcher or next to someone who is.

But, in an emergency, that ambulance ride just might save your life. If you do need an ambulance, the ride can be expensive. Sometimes costing thousands of dollars.

So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover Ambulance Services?” In this article, we answer this question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of an ambulance service, as well as other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Services?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of ambulance services. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your ambulance service. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for ambulance service costs. Medicare Part B covers the cost of ambulance services, both emergency and non-emergency. Medicare Part B covers ambulance services when it is urgent for the sick person to get to a medical facility to receive treatment.

But that is not the only time Medicare Part B will cover an ambulance service. They will also cover ambulance services if the sick person needed ambulance transportation because other means of transportation are unsafe for him/her.

Situations of non-emergency transport may include if the patient needs dialysis on the way. However, Medicare will require your healthcare provider’s order stating why they must cover the non-emergency ambulance service.

Once approved by Medicare Part B, they will cover 80% of a ground ambulance service’s cost.

Air Ambulances

Aside from providing coverage for ground ambulance services, Medicare Part B may also cover air ambulance services, but not most of the time. Medicare Part B will cover air ambulance if it is medically necessary. Such situations include:

  • If a ground ambulance cannot access your location
  • If there is a great distance or obstacles like traffic or rough terrain from where you are and the appropriate facility where you should be

Suppose you live in a rural location. In that case, Medicare Part B will automatically cover the cost but only if you meet the following:

  • If your healthcare provider states the need for an air ambulance service due to time and/or geographical factors
  • If the air transport that will provide ambulance service meets Medicare-approved requirements

Once approved by Medicare Part B, they will cover 80% of the cost of an air ambulance service.

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provides coverage for ambulance services as they cover everything Original Medicare covers. However, out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the plan provided by the plan providers.

How Much Does Ambulance Services Cost?

Some ambulance services do not charge fees. Their costs are covered by taxes. However, ambulance services that charge fees may cost from less than $250 to more than $1,200.

The cost will vary depending on the distance the ambulance has to travel, the type of care provided during transport (emergency vs non-emergency care), and where you live.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including:

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover gastric bypass surgery?

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