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Will Medicare Pay for Ambulance Services?

Medicare pays for limited ambulance services. If you go to a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF), ambulance services are covered only if any other transportation could be a danger to your life or health. If the care you need is not available locally, Medicare helps pay for necessary ambulance transportation to the closest facility outside your local area that can provide the care you need.

If you choose to go to another facility farther away, Medicare payment is determined based on how much it would cost to go to the closest facility. All ambulance suppliers must accept assignment. Medicare does not pay for ambulance transportation to a doctor’s office. Air ambulance is paid only in emergency situations, such as when you can’t be easily reached by land, or if heavy traffic could prevent you from getting crucial care quickly. If you could have been transported by land ambulance without serious danger to your life or health, Medicare pays only the land ambulance rate and you are responsible for the difference.

If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), in some cases Medicare may cover ambulance services to and from a dialysis facility. If you have questions about Medicare coverage of ambulance transportation, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY users 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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