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Florida Insurers and EMS Workers Looking to Reduce EMS Costs

October 31st, 2017 by Jake Stofan
There’s a battle brewing between insurers and EMS providers over the cost of EMS transportation services, while patients are stuck paying the price.
The two sides came together Tuesday morning, to discuss possible compromises to help take some of the financial burden off patients.
A ride to the hospital in an ambulance can costs between 800 and $1,000.
Insurers don’t always cover everything.
The remaining cost is passed along to the patient.
At a special meeting between insurers and EMS providers, Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha’Ron James searched for common ground.
Each blames the other for cases where patients get stuck with outlandish charges.
“If nothing else comes out of this that there are greater consumer protections so that consumers don’t receive large unexpected bills from providers because insurance carriers aren’t covering those valued services,” said Jones.
Insurers say transportation bills have been excessively high, especially with air transport.
Wences Troncoso with Florida Association of Health Plans says he’s seen examples where an emergency transport in a fixed-wing airplane came back with a $500,000 bill.
The fix insurers favor is a ban on balance billing.
“You know this is not a situation of egregious billing, we believe it’s price gouging,” said Troncoso.
It would prevent patients from picking up extra costs, requiring insurers and EMS providers to compromise on a price.
Plant City Fire Chief Dan Azzariti says the insurers’ proposal would cut critical revenue from Florida’s mostly public EMS providers.
He also worries about Florida’s large visitor population.
“They don’t pay taxes. So any offset in cost is shifted to those who do pay taxes,” said Azzariti.
The Insurance Consumer Advocate will make recommendations for both insurers and EMS providers.
If the two can’t come to a resolution, she may be forced to recommend legislative fixes.
The report will consist of best practice recommendations and contract negotiation recommendations between insures and EMS providers.

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