Do You Have To Pay For Ambulance?[Explained]

No matter which states you live in, it’s always important to know the costs of disaster management services. Fire is one of the most common hazards all over the United States. In case there’s a burn victim, you’ll have to call for the fire ambulance along with the fire truck. Now, the question is, do you have to pay for ambulance?

Yes, you’ll always have to pay for the ambulance in one way or another. Although Govt. fire department won’t charge for their ambulance services right away, they’ll cut the pay from tax, federal or health insurance later. In fact, some govt. and private ambulance services will charge you right after providing their services.

As for volunteer departments, some of them charge for their ambulance services while some don’t. It will depend on the specific organization and location.

Let’s dive into the details and find out when and how fire departments might charge you for their ambulance services.

Do You Have To Pay For Ambulance

How Govt. Fire Departments Charge You for Ambulance 

Government fit departments charge for fire ambulances through taxes, health insurance, or federals. Below are the details:

Through Taxes 

Most of the funding of the fire department comes from taxes. A certain amount of the capital tax you pay every year is allocated to your local fire departments for their services, including an ambulance.

The source of these taxes includes personal income, real property, utility-user taxes, sales, transactions, and real estate transfer taxes. In most cases, all the collected taxes go to your city’s general fund. Later, a group of elected officials decided how to divide the revenue among various public sectors.

However, in fire protection districts, if there is no specific city or town government, the elected councils will directly collect ‘Fire Tax’ from the residents. The bottom line is fire ambulances provided by government fire departments aren’t exactly free; you pay for them through taxes.

Through Federal 

If you’re not a resident of a certain state and want to call in the fire service ambulance, federal law requires you to pay the full amount for it. 

There might be some consideration for low-income citizens, but you’ll still have to pay the charge from your pocket. However, the scenario might be different if you have health insurance.

Through Health Insurance 

Typically, Federal programs and health insurance companies like Medicare and Medicaid pay the charge for medical transport. So, if you have health insurance or you’re a part of any such federal program, your policy might cover the full amount or a certain percentage of the whole cost of a fire ambulance.

You must check out the insurance policies to know if they cover the entire amount or just parts.

Pro Tip 1: If You Don’t Have Health Insurance Being a State Resident,

You might be eligible for special considerations and get fire ambulance services free of charge. Many states have Healthcare Alliance which is a part of local health programs.

It offers free healthcare and services for low-income district residents. Remember, you must meet the income eligibility requirements to get free fire ambulance services.

Pro Tip 2: If you’re not a DC Resident and You Have No Health Insurance Either,

Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay the entire charge for calling in the ambulance. The staff from the fire department will take the necessary information or provide you with an application form to choose your preferred payment options.

You can contact the local fire department services in case you want to do some negotiations regarding the amount.

How Does a Private Fire Department Charge You for an Ambulance?

Private fire departments aren’t owned by the government or funded by any organization, so they will always charge you for a fire ambulance. The number of private fire departments is very few, only about a hundred in the United States.

Some of them offer yearly subscription plans, which require you to pay a certain amount of money each month. Hence, you won’t have to pay every time you can in an ambulance. However, private fire department services are expensive. So, go for them if you live in an area where wildfire is a common occurrence.

Are Fire Ambulances Part Of The Fire Services 1

How Volunteer Fire Department Charges for Ambulance?

Thankfully, most volunteer fire departments don’t charge any money for their ambulance services. However, some of them do, and you need to talk to the responsible authority first about the charges before you take their services.

But how do volunteer fire departments get funded? Well, sometimes, the government provides the necessary funding for volunteer fire departments. Public and private fundraising is also very common. In some cases, the officials might ask you for a donation after providing their ambulance and other services.

Penalties for False Alarm 

False alarms are a huge loss of manpower and energy. In worst cases, a real case of fire might be ignored due to a false alarm. Hence, different cities and states have issued penalties for false alarms. 

In most cases, you’ll be fined up to $1,000 or be jailed for up to 1 year. Here are some false alarm penalties for different cities and states-

  • California: Imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Michigan: Imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana: $50 for each false fire alarm
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: No penalties for the first 3 false alarms. Can be charged $100 for the 4th false alarm and $200 for the 5th false alarm. One needs to pay $300 for the 6th and additional ones.

Ambulance Cost According to Life Support 

Fire department ambulances can come with medical equipment if there is an emergency burn case. However, you’ll need to pay some extra for advanced life support. Besides, the amount of the charge will vary depending on your location as the transport mileage will be considered.

Below are the ambulance costs according to life support and transport mileage:

Basic Life Support or BLS Transport Cost 

The charge for a resident$750
The charge for a resident of 65-year age or older$650
The charge for a non-resident$850

Advanced Life Support or ALS-1 Transport Cost 

Charge for a resident$850
Charge for a resident of 65-year age or older$750
Charge for a non-resident$950

Advanced Life Support or ALS-2 Transport Cost 

Charge for a resident$950
Charge for a resident of 65-year age or older$850
Charge for a non-resident$1,050

Ground Transport Mileage Cost 

Charge for a single person without advanced equipment$15
Charge for a single resident with advanced equipment$100
Charge for a single non-resident with advanced equipment $150

Understanding Emergency Response Fees 

Although the fire departments of most states don’t charge any emergency fees, a few of them still charges you a certain amount of fees for emergency fire response. Emergency response fees for fire ambulance services vary depending on the location and the specific service provided.

Generally, these fees are used to cover the cost of the emergency response, including the cost of the ambulance, personnel, and any necessary medical equipment. In some cases, insurance may cover these fees, but in others, the patient or their family may be responsible for paying the fee.

So, it’s best to check with your local fire department or emergency medical services provider to determine the specific fees in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. When it’s inappropriate to call a fire department ambulance?

If the victim’s condition isn’t life-threatening, it’s not appropriate or economical to call a fire ambulance. Any minor injury or illness, such as a sore throat or irritation due to smoke, isn’t considered life-threatening. So, it’s better to drive to the hospital with a friend or call a cab or ride-sharing service in such cases.

2. Should I call a government or private fire ambulance? 

You should always call the fire department that’s the closest to your location, be it government or private fire department. When there’s an emergency, prioritize the victim’s safety first. 

3. Why does a fire truck arrive upon Calling an ambulance?

A fire truck might arrive instead of an ambulance simply because the firefighters can reach the location faster. Firefighters are trained to provide basic medical help, such as CPR. So, if there’s an emergency, the fire truck might reach first to take the victim to the hospital faster and provide basic medical help.

Wrapping Up!

So, do you have to pay for ambulance? Now you know the answer. In a nutshell, you’re paying the charges for an ambulance through taxes, health insurance, or in cash after taking their services.

Therefore, it’s not entirely free. Private fire departments will charge you in all cases. I mean, you have to pay the portion of the ambulance via cash. If you want a free-of-cost fire ambulance ride, consider calling volunteer fire departments.

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