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Article published April 9, 2013
Membership bad deal
A. Joanne Hughes Forward Township
Health care today seems all about someone making money. I know I’ll be changing my Medicare supplement insurance on May 1 because I have a bad plan. My current insurance company doesn’t want to pay for the hospitalist who came to see me in my room when I was a patient at Butler Memorial Hospital. Of course I am appealing that decision. I was admitted to the hospital Feb. 21 because of an emergency. I was transported to the hospital by Butler Ambulance Service. I thought if you were an ambulance association member — I am — the membership would cover the ambulance trip beyond what my insurance would pay. Not so. I received a bill for $150 from the ambulance service. What good is the membership if it doesn’t cover an emergency ambulance trip? What about the years people have a membership and don’t use the service? That’s pure profit for the ambulance service. When I was transported to Butler Memorial from Evans City on that day in February, the trip cost $881. Evidently, my insurance paid the bill except for the $150 in question. It’s my understanding that many other ambulance services would not bill a member beyond what the insurance pays. Does the Butler Ambulance Service get government subsidies? I guess there’s nothing I can do now but pay, if my appeal is unsuccessful, but I won’t be spending any more money on a membership. When I was asked to become a member, I was given the impression that if I agreed to membership I would not need to worry. Not so. I think everyone should know that just because they become a member doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be receiving a bill if they must use the service.