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Article published April 9, 2013

Membership bad deal

GG 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.



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