4 Factors That Affect the Cost of Long-Distance Ambulance

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services focus on people who do not have a medical emergency but require some level of medical aid or assistance during transit.

It has been estimated that about 3.6 million people living in the United States fail to show up for their medical appointment or defer their treatments/sessions due to the unavailability of an appropriate means of transports. Hence, NEMT becomes a necessary service for these individuals.

It is hard to calculate the exact charge a NEMT service provider would charge you for various reasons. One of which is that there is no fixed industry price as various providers have different rates. The lack of a standard rate means that the long-distance transport ambulance cost will differ significantly due to various factors such as:

1. Distance: A cross-country non-emergency medical transport trip is more expensive than an intra-city trip due to the number of miles traveled. Most NEMT firms, if not all, set a constant price that reflects the mileage covered. Although the final estimate differs across organizations, NEMT firms track the distance covered.

The cost of the trip according to the distance is usually calculated by multiplying the fixed charge for each mile traveled and the number of miles covered during the journey.

2. Wait-time: Some clients may desire a two-way trip from their residence to the hospital and back home. These clients may be required to pay a wait fee depending on how long the NEMT employee will wait for them between stops.

The NEMT firm needs to factor in how much time they wait for the customer. For instance, a firm may set the rate at $5 for every 10 minutes waited. Hence, a sum of $30 will be added to the entire fees paid for the journey.

3. Equipment: The availability of equipment and medical devices is a unique feature of long-distance ambulances. Depending on your condition, the NEMT firm needs to equip the ambulance with medical equipment that will be used during the trip.

The medical devices onboard NEMT vehicles play a determining role in fixing the amount a service provider is willing to accept as charges for the long-distance transport ambulance cost. Provision of assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and stretchers for the medical trip may incur additional charges.

4. Number of attendants: Depending on the disability level, you may need more than one employee to accompany you on the trip. If you have three NEMT employees escorting you on a wheelchair NEMT transport, the amount will be higher than what you would pay if you had two employees aboard the ambulance, provided you are traveling the same distance and had equal wait periods. 

Bottom Line

NEMT service is an essential part of the healthcare sector. A study conducted on veterans revealed that delayed access to healthcare leads to increased mortality cases. Hence, the need to contact a NEMT firm when the need arises. Also, you should request a quote on the long-distance transport ambulance cost from your NEMT provider and ask your insurance company if it is covered.


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