Ground Ambulance Billing and Prices Differ by Ownership Structure


The No Surprises Act prohibits most surprise billing but notably does not apply to ground ambulance services. In this study we created a novel data set that identifies the ownership structure of ground ambulance organizations to compare pricing and billing between private- and public-sector ambulances, with a specific focus on organizations owned by private equity or publicly traded companies. Overall, we found that 28 percent of commercially insured emergency ground ambulance transports during the period 2014–17 resulted in a potential surprise bill. Our analysis illustrates that being transported by a private-sector ambulance in an emergency comes with substantially higher allowed amounts, patient cost sharing, and potential surprise bills compared with being transported by a public-sector ambulance. Further, allowed amounts and cost sharing tended to be higher for private equity– or publicly traded company–owned ambulances than other private-sector ambulances. These findings highlight substantial patient liability and important differences in pricing and billing patterns between public- and private-sector ground ambulance organizations.

The full study can be viewed at Health Affairs. 

Adler, L., Ly, B., Duffy, E., Hannick, K., Hall, M., & Trish, E. (2023). Ground Ambulance Billing And Prices Differ By Ownership Structure: Study examines ground ambulance billing and prices by ownership structure. Health Affairs, 10-1377.