Ambulance providers in Pennsylvania are enthusiastic about a bill advancing in the state legislature that would require insurance companies to reimburse EMS for calls that don’t end in a hospital trip.
Currently, insurance companies aren’t required to pick up that cost.
“Even if we’re paid by the insurance companies, the insurance companies do not usually pay in full,” said Scott Rawson, executive director of Centre LifeLink, an EMS provider in Centre County. “And their fee structure — it doesn’t cover our cost to provide the service.”
Rawson said 15 to 20 percent of the station’s dispatches don’t end in a trip to a hospital. Sometimes there’s no injury in an accident. Other times, emergency care can be done at the scene.
Under Senate Bill 1003, which unanimously passed the State Senate last week, insurance companies and Medicaid would need to reimburse EMS providers for those costs.
“This will address a very real fiscal concern for our local EMS providers,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) in a statement.
Sam Marshall, president of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania, also supports the bill. He said it will make policies more consistent across the board, although it means policy holders might pay more.
“The hope is that this won’t be a major cost increase, and that it will improve the quality of care for policy holders, but also the availability of needed ambulance care,” he said.
The bill is now under review in the House, which passed a similar bill last month. The Senate version added the Medicaid reimbursement requirement.