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The Ambulance Billing Section is responsible for
billing Paramedic services provided by the Long Beach Fire Department. Any
person that needs Paramedic attention and/or transportation to a local emergency
facility will be billed for the transport and the first responder fee. The
patient or the legal guardian (if the patient is under 18), is
ultimately responsible for all billed charges.
THE CITY'S COST
Long Beach, as well as other cities and municipalities, funds emergency medical services, specifically ambulance transport and treatment, through a combination of taxes, general City revenues, and fees for service. The City currently bills an ambulance transport fee as well as a first responder fee. While the ambulance transport fee partially covers the cost of the transport, the first responder fee provides for initial treatment and evaluation by either an ambulance or a fire engine response team, regardless of whether a transport occurs. Even with these fees, ambulance transport costs are heavily subsidized.
Emergency medical services cost the City roughly $22 million annually. Taxes and other City revenues cover half the cost. Ambulance transport and first responder fees pay for the remaining half. This fee structure is common amongst cities and municipalities and allows the Fire Department to maintain the highest level of service. The recent introduction of the first responder fee was intended to close a gap in funding and maintain the current level of service.
INSURANCE AND BILLING
Emergency medical responses are typically covered by insurance policies, less any deductible or copay. The following is a breakdown in regards to various insurance providers:
Private Insurance: Ambulance transport and first responder fees are sometimes covered. Follow the instructions provided on the bill and fill out the Request for Medical Insurance Information Form (instructions provided below). Upon receipt, your insurance provider will be billed. If any outstanding balance remains, you will be billed for the remainder. All deductibles and copays are determined by your provider. Questions related to those charges should be directed to the insurance provider.
Medi-Cal: Customers with Medi-Cal are not billed for a first responder fee. Although Medi-Cal does not make any additional reimbursement to the City when the first responder fee is added to a transport bill, Medi-Cal regulations stipulate that any unpaid balance must be waived and cannot be billed to the patient. Medi-Cal will pay an allowable amount for the first responder fee if there is no transport, and any unpaid balance must be waived by the City and cannot be billed to the patient.
Medicare/Plan B: Medicare does not cover the first responder fee. Supplemental Medicare insurance may or may not cover the fee. The City will bill the supplemental insurance if the customer provides us that information. If insurance does not cover the fee, patients will be billed by the City. The City offers a payment plan and a Hardship Waiver for those who cannot pay (see below).
authorize the City of Long Beach to bill your insurance company, please fill out
the required Request for Medical Insurance Information Form and mail to the City of Long Beach,
Attn: Ambulance Billing, P.O. Box 22600, Long Beach, CA 90801 or email to AmbulanceBilling@LongBeach.gov. The City will bill your insurance provider and provide you with a bill for the remaining balance, should one remain. Any questions regarding copays or coverage of fees should be directed to your insurance provider.
For billing questions please contact us at
(562) 570-7600, option #4, or email to AmbulanceBilling@LongBeach.gov.
You may pay your bill by any of the following
Mail: Make your check, cashier's check,
and/or money order payable to the City of Long Beach. Remit the payment along
with the bill stub to City of Long Beach, Attn: Ambulance Billing, P.O. Box 22600,
Long Beach, CA 90801.
Walk-In: Monday through Friday,
7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Cashier's Window on the Lobby Level of City Hall, 333 W.
Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.
(562) 570-7600 to pay by telephone. Credit card payments are
accepted over the telephone. We accept debit/credit cards with Visa and Master Card logos only. In
order to process your credit card payment, the credit card number and expiration
date is required. Please have your E-Account number ready, located at the top
left of the bill. A fee will be charged by the City's third party vendor.
Drop Boxes: Payments placed in a
drop box will be processed within 24 hours of receipt. Drop boxes are
conveniently located on the Lobby Level of City Hall and outside City Hall at
the south east side of the building.
Online Payment: This feature allows you to pay for ambulance services online. Please click the
"Make a Payment" button located at the top of this page. Please have your
E-Account number ready, located at the top left of the bill. A fee will be charged by the City's third party vendor.
The City of Long Beach provides a number of payment
assistance options. Customers may be asked to demonstrate a need in order to
receive any of the accommodations listed below.
Allows a customer extra time to pay a bill
without incurring late fees. Please contact us at (562) 570-7600, option #4, to
request a payment extension.
Plan: Allows a customer to establish monthly payments to pay a bill
over several months. Please contact us at (562) 570-7600, option #4, to
establish a payment plan.
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
Advanced Life Support (ALS): Advanced care rendered by a Paramedic. Can include cardiac monitoring, establishment of an intravenous lifeline (IV), drug administration, defibrillation, and assisted breathing.
Basic Life Support (BLS): Care rendered by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic that involves advanced first aid but not advanced life support. BLS care includes CPR, splinting, bandaging, and spinal stabilization.
First Responder Fee: The First Responder Fee will be charged to patients who are medically evaluated and/or treated by Fire Department staff on a first responder unit, such as a fire engine, fire truck, or ambulance.
Mileage: Total miles measured from the incident location to the receiving hospital/facility.