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.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.
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.
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.