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Texas Department of Insurance
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When should I call an ambulance, and how can I save money when I do?


Here are some things to think about before you call for an ambulance.

Emergency checklist
  1. Make sure it’s an emergency.

    You could end up paying a lot more if your condition isn’t an emergency. Here’s a guide to help you know if you need to call an ambulance. If it’s not an emergency, have someone drive you.

  2. Make an emergency checklist.

    • For a true emergency, call 911.
    • Check your health plan network to make a list of the closest in-network hospitals and urgent care centers. Note the hours urgent care is available.
    • Make a plan for getting a ride if you don't have an emergency, such as neighbors, taxis, or ride-share apps.
    • Keep your emergency contact list where anyone in your family can find it. Here’s an example (PDF).
  3. See if the ambulance is in your network.

    If you’re using a ground ambulance to go from one hospital to another, ask in advance if the service is in your network. If it’s not, ask for one that is. Most ambulance services are out of network, and the charge is usually based on how far they take you.

  4. Be prepared to appeal.

    You can file an appeal with a ground ambulance company if your bill seems too high or not correct. If you still need help, you can file a complaint with us.

  5. When should you use an air ambulance?

    Use an air ambulance only when needed. If you have Medicare, it covers air ambulance rides if needed for medical reasons. If you have a Medicare supplement policy, you probably don’t need the kind of separate discount plan sold by some air ambulance providers.

    Air ambulance services used for medical reasons are covered by the federal No Surprises Act. This means the air ambulance provider can’t charge you more than the amount allowed by your health plan. You may have to pay out-of-pocket costs such as coinsurance, copays, or deductible amounts as outlined by your health plan.


Questions? Call us at 800-252-3439.

Last updated: 3/1/2023