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Ambulance fees to rise

Sun Country Regional Health Authority (SCRHA) approved the increase of ambulance fees at its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 26.  

Rates will go up in Sun Country Health Region as of April 1, 2011. Ambulance operators will increase their pick up fee by $25, to $245 per call. In addition to the basic fee, the per kilometer rate will increase by 10 cents, to $2.30 per kilometer.

There will be no increase to the current waiting time fee of $100 per hour.

This is the first increase allowed since 2006. The fees were increased according to Saskatchewan Ministry of Health guidelines which changed in December, 2010.  

The Saskatchewan goverment will continue to provide financial assistance to:

1)      Seniors whose costs will continue to be subsidized through the Senior Citizens' Ambulance Assistance Program ( SCAAP)  where the fees for seniors aged 65 and over will continue to be capped at $250 per ambulance trip

2)      Those with lower-income will have their costs subsidized through  Supplementary Health Benefits program and the Family Health Benefits program, which covers children who require emergency transport.

People in our communites are encouraged to purchase private insurance if they are not covered by any other plan such as those provided through work or the plans mentioned above.  

Ambulance is not an insured service in Saskatchewan. The Ministry of Health subsidizes the cost of Emergency Medical Services by providing more than $50 million annually to RHAs, which own and operate or contract for services. The remainder of the operating costs are covered by these patient fees

Sharon Bauche, Chair of the Regional Health Authority, says the RHA recognizes that unexpected ambulance costs are often challenging for people without financial assistance. “Residents should consider the purchase of private insurance coverage if they are not eligible for provincial assistance and, or if, their employment benefits do not include ambulance use,” she says.

Posted on Jan. 26.  

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