does medicare cover ambulance fees
Health Insurance

Does Health Insurance Cover Ambulance Charges?

During health emergencies, patients need immediate medical care. There are high chances that during such events, a hospital may be unavailable in the vicinity. Transporting the patient through private or public vehicles can be risky. Hence, calling for an ambulance is necessary. Ambulances are equipped with medical instruments to provide emergency care. However, most ambulance services in India are chargeable. Let’s find out if ambulance costs are covered by health insurance.

Ambulance charges in India and how they are determined

In India, ambulance services are offered by numerous organizations. Most hospitals provide their own ambulance facility round the clock on a chargeable basis. However, government entities like the National Ambulance Service of India offer free ambulance services for non–emergency circumstances. The costs also depend on the vehicle type and the ambulance charges per kilometre levied by different service providers. Here are some types of ambulances you can choose.

  Ambulance Type   Facilities Provided
 Basic life support ambulance Stretcher, blood pressure monitors, oxygen cylinder, etc.
 Advanced life support ambulance Basic ambulance facilities plus ECG monitors, defibrillators, nebulisers, resuscitation kits, etc.
 Neonatal ambulance Basic ambulance facilities plus incubators to transfer sick, newborn babies.
 Patient transport ambulance Transfers patients from one medical facility to another
 Mortuary ambulance Freezer box to transport corpses
 Air ambulance Helicopter facilities

As mentioned earlier, ambulance costs are determined by the number of kilometers covered during transportation. The farther the healthcare facility, the higher the charges. Also, there is no standard pricing for ambulances, and private ambulance service providers typically set their own rates. Depending on the area, ambulance services may be more expensive in some cities than others.

Does health insurance cover ambulance charges?

Most health insurance policies with a decent sum insured cover ambulance charges. With such policies, you can file a claim up to a certain percentage of the sum insured to pay for the cost of ambulance services.

For instance, assume your insurer promises to cover 1% of the sum insured towards ambulance costs. Now let’s say you have a policy with a sum insured of Rs 5 Lakh. You book an ambulance, and it costs you Rs 6,000. As per the policy terms, the insurer covers 1%, i.e., Rs 5,000 as ambulance costs, whereas you have to pay the remaining Rs 1,000 from your pockets.

If your policy does not cover ambulance charges, you can check if your insurer provides it as an add–on rider. An add–on rider is an additional service for which you must pay a separate fee to utilize a medical facility not covered under your insurance plan. You can buy add–on riders only when buying or renewing insurance.

Premium health insurance policies with high sum assured typically cover air ambulance services, which are more expensive due to the quick transportation facility they offer. Some insurance providers cover up to Rs 1 Lakh as air ambulance charges.

Stay safe and buy health insurance

A health insurance policy is an investment worthy of its name. You must buy health insurance so that you can concentrate on getting the best treatment instead of worrying about finances during a medical emergency.

Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.

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