City ambulance service rates going up for insurance companies

Published 9:36 am Friday, November 25, 2016

Ambulance service rates from the city are going up for insurance companies at the beginning of the year.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the increased prices during Wednesday’s meeting. Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city has not increased its fees since 2012, and the insurance companies had been willing to pay more than the amount the city charged. Now the city has met the offered payment from the companies.
“Insurance will pay more than what we’re billing so we’re leaving that money on the table by having rates lower than what the insurance companies will pay,” city attorney Nancy Thomas said.
“The company that does our ambulance billing recommended that we raise our rates to what the insurance companies will pay.”
The mileage payment increased $2 per mile from $13 to $15. Basic Life Support Non-Emergency increased $75 from $250 to $325. Advanced Life Support Emergency increased $150 from $475 to $625.
Three types of payment did not increase. Advanced Life Support II stayed at $675, Basic Life Support Emergency stayed at $400, and Advance Life Support Non-Emergency stayed at $300.
Flaggs said Medicaid and private insurance companies set those rates and most of the payment is made by those companies.
“Most of those (expenses) are taken care of by insurance companies or Medicaid,” Flaggs said.
The last time city ambulance billing was revised, the new payment amounts went into effect Sept. 1, 2012.
The new changes will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.
“It’s my understanding we haven’t raised these rates since 2012. We’re leaving about $45,000 on the table,” Flaggs said. “I’m told we lose $45,000 if we don’t pass this.”
That calculation comes from the number of ambulance calls over a year comparing what the city made and what they could have made based on what insurance companies offer to pay.
Flaggs said people who are struggling financially and cannot afford the ambulance rates but need medical help will be charged in payments based on what they can afford.
“It allows them to pay what they can pay towards the service. Nancy and I spotted where a lady or a man was paying $5, and one was paying $10. There is a provision for the indigent so if they can’t pay the full amount they have installments,” Flaggs said.
Thomas said there are partial pay agreements for people who either don’t have insurance or can’t afford payment, but she said there are very few cases of people who qualify for that service.
“There are very few that applies to. Most of them have either Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance,” she said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month