State legislators must ensure ambulance service providers receive direct pay
Ambulance service providers are on the front lines of the front lines, playing a vital role in public health and safety services across New York State. It is time health insurance companies pay providers what they are owed without burdening patients.
It is unfair that, during a time of crisis, a patient or their family must deal with paying an ambulance bill when there is an easier way. The “direct pay” legislation (S.1466/A.250) would streamline the process by which ambulance service providers are reimbursed by health insurers by allowing for health insurers to send payments directly to ambulance providers.
Not only are patients overburdened with health insurance bills, but far too often, ambulance providers don’t ever see the money they are owed. This system is often abused when patients learn that they will receive the funds for the ambulance service. Unfortunately, many of those patients never pay the ambulance providers. This repeated lack of payments time after time weakens our EMS system.
The legislation also applies to out-of-network health insurance plans, which is great for New Yorkers who don’t get to choose which ambulance shows up. Health insurers don’t like it and claim it will drive up costs. But insurers are already paying out-of-network providers their usual and customary rates. We simply believe the payments for these services should be made directly to the ambulance companies.
The intent behind this legislation is simple – let’s make accessing critical healthcare services easier for patients and essential workers.
We urge state legislators to pass “direct pay” to ensure ambulance service providers receive the critical resources needed to continue doing their jobs safely and effectively, delivering the best possible outcomes for patients across New York State.
Jeff Call is President of the United New York Ambulance Network.
James R. Comstock, President of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.
Henry Ehrhardt is President of New York State Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Association.
Don Corkery is President of the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York.