Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not Sure About This One...

#1 Blogdaughter sends this one in. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Senior surprised by $315 bill for calling 911
"I got up, and I was dizzy and feeling kind of nauseous, and I thought, 'This isn't right,'" Shorewood resident Lois Sarrel said.

Sarrel had a rude awakening in early May.

"I guess I was panicking a little bit because women don't have the same symptoms as men for heart attack," Sarrel said.
She called 911, Emergency Services came out and triaged her, finding that she was not in fact having a heart attack. She declined transport to the hospital, and because of that, she received a bill for the services rendered. Apparently she is on Medicare, and they only cover emergency calls that result in trips to the hospital.

Now, on the one hand, I'm of the opinion that if your symptoms are so bad that you have to call 9-1-1, you should take the trip to the hospital to get checked out anyways. Something is going on that is causing you enough discomfort to brave modern medical care - it might not be a heart attack, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be something else serious.

On the other hand, I can see where this might cause some folks to forgo emergency care, and that's never a good thing. I can also totally understand that someone might not realize that a 9-1-1 call would result in a big charge like that. You think you have insurance, and that it will be covered, only to find out later that it's not.

Again, though, I come back to the whole "this was serious enough to call 9-1-1 but not go to the hospital" part. If it was so serious that you couldn't drive yourself to the hospital, you probably should have gone just to be on the safe side. Just because it's not a heart attack doesn't mean that it's not something serious. I can kinda see the charge if it's to discourage people from using EMS as a way of getting medical care at home (i.e. rather than going to their doctor).

Also, not for nothing, but $315 for an EMS call to the home is pretty cheap. I've seen several medical insurance plans where an ER visit is a $200 co-pay. Add in another charge for the EKG, and it's not too far off what she ended up getting billed. Throw in that she didn't have to drive to the ER, and it's starting to see pretty reasonable.

I still don't know how I feel about this one...

That is all.


Ted said...

AOL. Lied in the headline. She wasn't billed for calling 911. She was billed for EMT services that were not covered by Medicare.

Of course "Medicare doesn't cover. ..... ". Is not news and makes Obamacare look bad so that's not an approved headline.

In any case, that's still cheap for an EKG and a house call.

ProudHillbilly said...

I took a ride to the emergency room via ambulance a few years ago and got billed...something. In the hundreds I think. But considering that for a bit before they got there I couldn't get up off the floor I considered the cost reasonable.

Formynder said...

Another point on this is "thought she had insurance and was covered". Most people don't actually look into what their insurance does and doesn't cover until after they need to use it. Personal responsibility does play in here.

Anonymous said...

Agree with ted. Bad headline. She was billed for services, not 911. And she is pissed that she can't get someone else to pay for it.

The good news is that her viagra will be covered if she needs that.

Aacid said...

I admit it does surprise me, especially as it sounds as if it was not medication administration but skill usage that came out of the call. Just my experience has been that barring abuse of 911 or administration of medication there were no fees for non-transport calls. I am wondering if there is something we are not seeing (The cost seems high for just wear and tear on vehicle and fuel since personnel were likely already on the clock)

As for the insurance, medicXXX sucks as a rule.