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Ambulances to start charging for non-urgent calls

Source: El Pais - Fri 14th Dec 2012
Ambulances to start charging for non-urgent calls

The Ministry of Health is proposing a copayment system for non-urgent use of ambulances at a cost of 5 per call-out.

The idea was included in an overhaul of the sector, approved by the government in April as part of its austerity drive.

The payment system is expected to be passed in the form of an executive order at the next meeting between the central and regional governments, and is due to take place on Thursday of next week.

The text of the order sets the conditions that patients must meet to have access to transportation by ambulance, and the maximum amounts they will have to pay.

It establishes a base price for calculating the copayment of 50, independent of the actual cost and length of the trip. Patients will be asked to pay 10% of that amount per trip, making a non-urgent return journey to and from hospital 10.

The draft order defines 3 types of trip: the transfer of a patient from a health center to his home after receiving emergency treatment or after being released from hospital; those that are "occasional" and those that are "periodic" in the case of chronically ill people receiving, for example, dialysis or cancer treatment.

As with the copayment system for medicines, the order establishes a monthly maximum that patients will be required to disburse on the basis of their income. For those earning between 18,000 - 100,000 the maximum payment per month is 20 euros. For those earning less than 18,000 euros, it is 10 euros, and for those earning over 100,000 the maximum amount payable is increased to 60.

Comment on this Story

The EHIC cover should remain unaffected : the new charges are for non-emergency cases, which the card does not cover or allow for anyway.
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 16th Dec 2012
I wonder if Travel Insurance Companies and Private Healthcare Providers (not to mention the EHIC system) are going to make allowances for this or not ?
Tyler - Fri, 14th Dec 2012

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