51% of emergency ambulance rides end in surprise bills for privately insured patients, study shows

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More than half of all emergency ground ambulance rides for privately insured Americans result in an out-of-network charge, according to a report published June 24 by the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System to see how often privately insured patients receive surprise medical bills for ambulance-related services. Below are three of the study's notable findings:

  1. Fifty-one percent of emergency and 39 percent of non-emergency ground ambulance rides result in an out-of-network charge for privately insured Americans.

  2. In seven states, more than two-thirds of emergency ground ambulance rides include an out-of-network charge for privately insured patients. Those states are California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

  3. In three states, fewer than 25 percent of emergency ground ambulance rides include an out-of-network charge for privately insured patients. Those states are Alabama, Indiana and Kentucky.

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