Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Cost? 3 Services

Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Cost – Overview?

Ambulance rides are quicker to reach the hospital. Yet, this medical transport is quite an expense. It may cost as much as a couple hundred to a thousand dollars.

The cost of advanced care on the way to the hospital can incur $2,000 or more. You can avoid this cost by choosing Medicare insurance plans.

Original Medicare covers ambulance services when necessary, and other forms of transportation would endanger health. Restrictions apply based on the necessity and circumstances of the transport.

So, be ready to pay some out-of-pocket expenses for the ambulance rise.

Let’s look at the types of Medicare cover for ambulance transport.

3 Types of Ambulance Services Medicare Cover

Medicare Part B covers the cost of ambulance transport during a medical emergency. This service is provided when other forms of transport are unsafe for the patient.

Medicare Advantage and other Medicare plans also offer coverage for ambulance transport, but the coverage, rules, and cost vary according to specific Medicare plans.

Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Cost

Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Cost – 3 Types of Ambulance Services Medicare Cover

Let’s look at the types of ambulance services that Medicare covers under emergency transportation:

1 – Emergency Ambulance Transport

Medicare Part B covers ambulance transport to the nearest appropriate medical facility that can provide the care you need if transportation in any other vehicle could endanger your health. This covers transporting patients to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or critical care clinics.

These are all done under medically necessary services. Medicare considers the severity of the policyholders into account before paying the cost of ambulance transport.

Your cost might not be covered if you did not need ambulance transport.

Medicare approves ambulance transport in emergencies where your health is in danger and transport in any other vehicle could endanger your life or health.

2 – Emergency Air Transport

Medicare covers air ambulance services when your health condition requires immediate and rapid ambulance transportation that ground transportation can’t provide and if the pickup location is inaccessible by ground ambulance or is a long distance from the nearest medical facility. Still, several criteria must be met to avail of air transport services under Medicare.

First, your health condition should warrant immediate evacuation by air to the nearest hospital. The main conditions that need to be met to avail of air transport under Medicare are:

  • You are at a location that is not accessible by a standard ambulance
  • You are located far from a hospital and other obstacles may prevent you from reaching the hospital on time

For instance, imagine you are out hiking at a remote location and get seriously injured from a mishap.

If the injury is severe, such as suffering from internal bleeding, then you will be provided air transport under Medicare.

3 – Non-Emergency Transport

Medicare covers ambulance services when necessary, including emergency and certain non-emergency situations, based on the patient’s condition. However, it also covers the cost of ambulance transport in non-emergency situations, such as:

  • Your doctor advises medical transport
  • You have a medically necessary reason to use an ambulance

People with end-stage renal disease get non-emergency ambulance transport under Medicare for their regular dialysis trips.

In case you suffer from severe obesity and are unable to travel in a car, then Medicare will also provide non-emergency ambulance transport.

How Much Cost Does Medicare Cover for Ambulance Transport?

After you meet the Medicare Part B deductible, Medicare pays for 80% of the Medicare-approved amount for ambulance services, and you are responsible for the remaining 20% of the coinsurance.

The amount is a fee schedule and changes according to the location. Still, ambulance transport costs are added to your Medicare Part B deductibles.

So, if you haven’t met your deductible, prepare to pay the remaining amount in addition to the usual 20% co-insurance.

Most Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance) plans cover the cost of your Original Medicare deductibles and copayments.


Medicare Part B covers the cost of ambulance transport in emergencies. This includes ground or air ambulances when required.

Medicare will also cover the cost of ambulance services for non-emergency situations in a few situations.

You must pay 20% coinsurance with your Medicare insurance plans after using this service.

See Also

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Current Version
August 18, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
March 24, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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