Starting today, anyone who calls for an ambulance in Fairfax County will be charged for the service, reports the Washington Post. Under the new rules, the county will charge $300, $400 or $550 for an ambulance trip to the hospital, depending on the severity of the illness or injury, plus $7.50 per mile. Government officials say fees will not be collected up front, that no one will be denied service and, in most cases, costs will be covered by the patient’s medical insurance or Medicaid and Medicare. The city expects to generate about $6.6 million in the first year from the fees.
Fairfax is the latest jurisdiction in the region to charge ambulance fees. Washington, D.C., Arlington County and the City of Alexandria charge for emergency medical transportation. Two other counties in the region, Montgomery and Spotsylvania, are considering such a move. Based on information gathered at the hospital, patients’ insurance companies will be sent a statement for ambulance transportation. Co-payment will be charged only to patients who don’t live in Fairfax. For older residents, Medicare or Medicaid will be billed directly. Patients with no insurance coverage will be sent a “request for information” that will include a waiver form. After three waiver notices are sent, the fees will be considered uncollectable, officials said.