Ambulance Fees to Rise in Unincorporated O.C.

The basic rate for using ambulance service in the county's unincorporated areas will increase from $296 to $314, effective July 1.

County supervisors approved an across-the-board 6% rate increase for all ambulance services, including mileage, oxygen, standby charges and medical supplies. The board said rates for the county's seven ambulance companies hadn't been raised since 1994. The increase corresponds to the rise in the Consumer Price Index.

The new fees will apply to patients without private health insurance that covers ambulance services. Patients with insurance or covered by Medicare won't incur the new charges.

The county ranks 53rd out of California's 58 counties for the amount charged for ambulance services, county officials said. The rate increase will bump the county up to 52nd.

"The board is very appreciative that the [ambulance companies] worked with us during the darkest days of the bankruptcy," Supervisor William G. Steiner said in recommending the new fees.

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