When you were a child, you probably learned that you should call 911 if you ever experienced a medical emergency. In emergency situations, a 911 operator can dispatch an ambulance to your location to get you the prompt, lifesaving care you need. However, ambulances aren't only useful in times of emergencies. You may not be aware of non-emergency ambulance service, but it's good to learn about the medical resources available to you before you need them. Here are four facts everyone should know about non-emergency ambulance transport:
1. It should be used as a last resort.
Ambulance service provides patients paramedic care on the way to the doctor. It can be used to transport patients who are too medically fragile to travel by other means. However, it does represent a significant expenditure of hospital resources. Non-emergency ambulance transport should only be used when it's the only option. If you're well enough to travel in cars for short periods of time, you should take a taxi to your medical appointment instead.
2. It must be scheduled ahead of time.
If you know you'll need non-emergency ambulance service in the future, you must schedule it in advance. Don't expect to call 911 when you need a ride. In order to make sure people with emergencies can still get the care they need, you will need to contact an ambulance service provider ahead of time. You can schedule an ambulance ride up to two months in advance, according to Medicare Interactive. While scheduling your ambulance trip, you will need to provide your home address and the address of the medical facility that will serve as your destination.
3. It can be covered by insurance.
Many insurance plans cover non-emergency ambulance rides as long as you can show proof that the service was necessary. In order to do this, you will need to submit a doctor's note to your insurance company, along with the bill for your ambulance service. Submit your doctor's authorization as soon as possible to lower your risk of having to pay for the service out of pocket. It's far easier to have your insurance pay the ambulance service directly than to apply for reimbursement.
4. It can help you travel between hospitals.
If you require a specific medical procedure that one hospital can't provide, you may be transferred to another facility. If you're unable to sit or you need to be kept stabilized in transit, you may require ambulance transport. A non-emergency ambulance service can safely transfer you from one hospital to another.