Assemblymember Phil Steck urges Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Direct Pay Bill (A250) into law. Passed at the end of the legislative session by a unanimous vote, the Direct Pay Bill would require all health insurance companies to reimburse ambulance service companies even if the company does not accept the patient’s insurance.
“Current law in New York State only requires insurance companies to directly pay ambulance service companies if that particular company is in the patient's insurance network," said Steck. "If a patient’s insurance company does not cover that particular ambulance company, the responsibility to collect the payment from the patient falls on the ambulance company.”
Ambulance companies are mandated responders in New York; most ambulance providers do not know the patient's ability to pay or if or by whom they are insured when a medical emergency or accidental event occurs. Ambulance service is one of the few medical services where payment is not expected at the time of service. Relying on a patient to pay the ambulance company can deprive them of much-needed funds.
"Receiving direct payment will provide our organization with thousands of dollars in annual funds; it is a constant struggle to collect monies from patients that receive these direct payments," said Colonie EMS Chief Paul Sugrue. “Last year, one patient had accumulated more than $12,000 in insurance checks that were directly paid to them but owed to our service. Not only does this delay in payment deny us these funds, it leads to an increase in administrative and collections costs.”
The Direct Pay Bill will ensure that responding ambulance service companies receive direct payment for all responses upon submitting an invoice to the insurance company, even if they are a nonpreferred provider.
"This legislation streamlines this process by authorizing fair reimbursement for nonparticipating or nonpreferred providers, ensuring that ambulance services are promptly and consistently compensated for their life-saving efforts," said Jay Tyler, Director of EMS for the Town of Guilderland. "Assemblymember Steck's support of this bill is not only an investment in the well-being of our residents, but an acknowledgment of the intricate challenges EMS providers face."
“I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that will make it easier for our amazing ambulance companies to receive compensation for their services,” said Steck. “I urge the Governor to reject the opposition from the ultra-wealthy insurance company CEOs and stand with our brave first responders.”