SOS: Speaking of Seniors – Avoid Expensive Taxi Rides

A client sent me some bills for ambulance services to check for her. The client is from Hammond, Indiana.

I reviewed the bills and other papers. I asked for some other papers that our client should have received from Medicare but did not yet forward to me. I suspect that I know the reason for the unpaid bills for ambulance service. But, I will check for more details to make sure that I am correct before I give the news to our client.

I believe that the client used an ambulance service to go to an appointment with a doctor. The normal rule is that if an ambulance was not used in a life threatening situation, Medicare will not cover or help pay for it.

I wrote an article about this a few years ago to warn others on Medicare about this rule. In the previous article, I described how a client got a ride to a hospital in an ambulance and Medicare approved the claim because it was an emergency. But, after treatment at the hospital, the client called the ambulance company to take her home. There was no emergency on the return trip and Medicare did not approve it. That return home trip cost our client about $400 per mile.

Taxis, friends, churches, charities, and local politicians who want votes can help people on Medicare by providing rides to and from a hospital or doctor office in non-emergency situations for people on Medicare. Buying lunch or dinner for the person who gives a senior a ride in that circumstance is much cheaper than paying $400 per mile to an ambulance service.

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