Mountain View, CA

Woman fights hefty bill for a 100-yard ambulance ride

Pete Lakeman

It almost became the most expensive ride of her life yet. A San Jose woman received a $2255 bill for a 100-yard ambulance ride. In November 2022, Amber Chan drove herself to the emergency room of El Camino Health in Mountain View, California. She was admitted but then transferred to the inpatient clinic next door.

She wanted to walk over but she was told that protocol demands professional medical transport be used to ensure patient safety. Her insurance paid $573.91 leaving the balance to her. Royal Ambulance, the company responsible for her transport claimed that her insurance underpaid them.

Contacted by ABC7 News I-Team, El Camino Health said that the hospital covered the transport and that she should not have received a bill. Royal Ambulance told I-Team that they had already waived Amber’s copay but she confirmed that she hadn't received such communication.

While this situation seems resolved favorably, it caused unnecessary additional trauma to the patient. Due to increased billing disputes, in 2017 the state of California passed AB 72, a “law [that] protects consumers from surprise medical bills when they get non-emergency services, go to an in-network health facility and receive care from an out-of-network provider without their consent.”

Medical issues are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. It hurts more if it is a surprise bill or even a bill for services you never received.

Disclaimer: This article was written for educational and informational purposes only.

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I'm credentialed social studies and biological sciences teacher with over twenty years of classroom experience. I'm an avid gardener and tech DIYer and I love nature walks.

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