Neuman introduces increased ambulance fees

| October 15, 2014 | 1 Comment

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AmbulanceAnne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman has announced her administration has put forth legislation to defray the county’s cost of ambulance services by raising ambulance service fees, a change that will come at no cost to county residents. If passed, Bill 64-14 will generate an additional $1-3 million annually in ambulance fee revenue, and will only affect the cost incurred by insurance carriers.

“Our ambulance service rates have not been adjusted in five years, so I am pleased that this policy will put our fees in line with the actual cost of providing these services – with no fiscal impact on our citizens,” said County Executive Neuman. “This legislation will generate additional revenue for the county’s general fund that will be used for priorities including public safety, education and delivery of services.”

The ordinance, which is slated to be considered by the County Council on October 6, provides for increasing the fee for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support I from $500 to $700, and would increase the fee for Advanced Life Support II from $500 to $750. Additionally, the new policy would allow the county to charge a fee based on Medicare allowable amounts for each mile of transport. Anne Arundel is currently the only county in Maryland that bills for ambulance services that does not charge for mileage.

“Insurance providers reimburse at rates considerably higher than what the county is currently billing because they recognize the cost for these services,” said Fire Chief Michael E. Cox, Jr. “With ambulance calls accounting for 85 percent of our calls for service, I am glad that our fees will better reflect the ever-increasing costs incurred by our department.”

The proposed adjustments will affect the amount billed to insurance companies, but will not cost county residents anything. As set forth in the County Code, if any balance is remaining after a county resident’s insurance carrier has been billed, or if a resident is uninsured, it is considered prepaid by the resident’s payment of various county taxes.

If a balance remains after a nonresident’s insurance has been billed, or if a nonresident is uninsured, the nonresident will be billed, and will be given an opportunity to establish residency or apply for a hardship waiver. Because the county employs compassionate billing practices, cases will be reviewed on an individual basis before additional collection measures are considered.

The adjustments in ambulance service fees included in Bill 64-14 were recommended by the county’s new billing company, Intermedix, and were established based on national averages. Intermedix projects the county will receive an estimated $1-3 million annually in revenue under the adjusted rates and addition of mileage charges.

To learn more about Bill 64-14, go to www.aacounty.org/countycouncil/pendinglegis.cfm.

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