Medicare will most likely cover ambulance services, especially if you suffer from a severe medical condition. Your ambulance trip may still have costs, but as long as you meet specific guidelines for coverage, Medicare pays a portion of the bill.

The content below will cover everything you need about the Medicare program coverage for an ambulance. We’ll also discuss non-emergency medical transportation and more.

Medicare Coverage for Ambulance Transportation Services

Medicare Part B medical insurance covers ground ambulance transportation when going in a personal vehicle would endanger your health. For coverage to apply, you must need services from a hospital, a critical access hospital, or a skilled nursing facility.

The ambulance will take you to the nearest appropriate medical facility that can provide you with care. You can expect to pay the Part B deductible and 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.

Does Medicare Advantage cover ambulance transportation?

Yes, Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least as good as Original Medicare. Since Part B covers an ambulance, Part C plans must offer ambulance coverage too.

Contact the Medicare Advantage plan company for details on cost and eligibility, or refer to your evidence of coverage document. In most cases, there needs to be a medical emergency that warrants an ambulance. With Part C health insurance, you can expect to pay a copayment or coinsurance for your ambulance ride or other types of transportation services that may be included in your benefits.

What is a Voluntary Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage?

An ambulance company may give you an “Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage.” They provide this notice when they believe you are getting the ambulance in a non-emergency situation or if the ambulance believes Medicare won’t pay for the service.

This notice doesn’t require a signature, but when you get this document, you can expect Medicare won’t cover the cost. So when you get this form, you’re acknowledging financial responsibility for the cost of the ambulance.

Does Medicare cover non-emergency ambulance transportation?

In limited cases, Medicare covers medically necessary, non-emergency ambulance services. You must have a written order from your doctor that states why non-emergency transportation is required.

Someone with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) could require ambulance transport to a kidney dialysis facility. If the paramedic believes Medicare won’t cover the ride, they’ll give you an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage.

You can opt out of the ambulance ride if you get this notice.

FAQs

Does Medicare Part A cover ambulance transportation?

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital insurance but doesn’t cover the ambulance cost.

What are the Medicare-approved amounts for international air ambulance services?

Medicare won’t usually cover care outside of the United States. Only in a few situations, such as near the U.S border or traveling between the continental U.S. and Alaska, will there be coverage. Travel insurance is best when you plan to go to a foreign country.

Does secondary insurance cover the cost of an ambulance when Medicare does not?

If the coverage is from travel or ambulance insurance, it’s possible to have coverage. Although, in some cases, a Medigap plan may cover an ambulance in a foreign country.

Does Medicare cover Life Flight?

Medicare won’t cover Life Flight memberships, but if you’re a member and the emergency flight meets Medicare requirements, Medicare will cover its portion. Life flight pays secondary to Medicare.

Does Medicare cover helicopter transport?

Medicare covers emergency ambulance transportation in a helicopter when you need immediate transport that ground transportation doesn’t provide.

Does Medicare cover air ambulances?

Yes, Medicare will cover air ambulance transportation (also known as Medevac flights) if you’re in a remote area that isn’t accessible by ground ambulance. Coverage is still to the nearest hospital that will treat you. Air ambulances are more common in rural areas.

Will Medicare cover transportation to a doctor’s appointment?

In most cases, Medicare won’t cover non-emergency transportation to or from a doctor’s office. But, in rare cases, Medicare will approve. Prior authorization may be required for Medicare to approve the claim.

How Can a Medicare Supplement Help with Ambulance Costs?

To avoid getting a hefty ambulance bill, you can sign up for Medigap insurance. Medicare Supplement plans can cover the deductibles or coinsurances you’d otherwise be responsible for paying.

You can discuss your options with a licensed insurance agent in your state by calling us. Our agents can help you compare plans side by side and provide you with expert insight. Best of all, their time is free of charge!

Fill out our online rate form to see the best rates for plans available in your area.

Picture of the author
by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.