In late October, the Delaware County Commissioners approved a motion to enter into a contract with PST Services to begin billing third parties for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) runs.
The Genoa Township Fire Department provides EMS services, and over the past year members of the Genoa Township Board of Trustees have discussed a similar billing procedure.
Recently, Genoa Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt said Genoa Township has initiated steps to increase fire department funding, without increasing the cost to township residents, through an EMS Billing program similar to the program adopted by the county.
“This program collects monies that are already set aside by insurance companies and Medicare for emergency medical transports and accepts that payment as payment in full from those companies,” Honeycutt wrote in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet posted on the Genoa Township website.
“Township residents will continue to receive EMS care without any out-of-pocket expense.”
Honeycutt said EMS Billing is an alternative funding mechanism that will reduce the tax liability for Genoa Township residents by offsetting the cost of the care and transport of patients to an appropriate care facility.
“Most communities have already engaged in billing insurance providers for EMS transport services to lessen the burden on taxpayers,” Honeycutt said. “Approximately 85 percent of EMS providers nationwide bill for patient transports. Genoa Township is one of the few that does not.”
Honeycutt said if the trustees adopted the EMS Billing program no one would be denied emergency medical service or transport for any reason; that the medical treatment that a patient receives will not be changed in any way under the program.
“Ohio law requires all health insurance companies to set aside funds specifically for EMS transport,” Honeycutt said. “This premium is already being paid by Genoa Township residents even though Genoa Township currently does not bill for EMS transports. When these funds aren’t used for EMS transport billing they are converted into profits for insurance companies.”
Honeycutt said no Genoa Township resident would ever be asked to pay for transportation to the hospital once the EMS Billing program is in place.
“Sometime after your hospital visit, your insurance carrier will be billed for care and transport,” Honeycutt said. “When your insurance carrier or Medicare pays the transport charges, you will receive an Explanation of Benefits form to notify you that the charges have been paid. That will be the end of the transaction for Genoa Township residents.”
Honeycutt said in some cases, the third party billing service may need additional information for billing purposes.
“In those cases, you may receive a letter asking you to provide this information,” Honeycutt said. “But if you are a township resident, you will never be expected to pay the bill.”
Honeycutt said under the EMS Billing program being considered for adoption, Genoa Township would enter into an agreement with a third party billing company. This company will bill the resident’s health insurance company for care and transport; the insurance company will pay the bill in the same manner other medical bills are paid.
Honeycutt said residents should not be concerned if their insurance companies refuse to pay for EMS services.
“The billing approach Genoa Township will use is described as soft billing,” Honeycutt said. “Soft billing means that Genoa Township accepts the amount paid by the insurance company as full payment. Any balance remaining after insurance payment is written off.”
Genoa Township residents would not be billed for insurance co-pays or additional charges above the rate paid by their insurer, Honeycutt said. Patients may receive a letter requesting insurance information or verification, but they will not receive a bill even if they are not insured.
Honeycutt said Medicare would pay 80-percent of the allowable charge for medically necessary EMS transports. For Genoa Township residents, the remaining co-payment or deductible will not be charged.
Honeycutt also said no proof-of-insurance would be required before EMS services or transport.
“Emergency medical services and transport will be provided in the same way it has always been.” Honeycutt said. “Billing activities will be performed after any medical treatment has been provided and the emergency has been stabilized.”
For additional information, contact Genoa Township Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt at 614-568-2040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.