Medicare recipients could get refunds for ambulance bills |

Medicare recipients could get refunds for ambulance bills

Provided to the Tribune

Residents of El Dorado County who are Medicare beneficiaries have been routinely billed by the county for ambulance services in violation of Medicare regulations and may be entitled to a refund from the county if they paid for those services.

These demand payments have come from the El Dorado County Public Health Department or the El Dorado County Counsel. The improper charges have been the subject of grand jury proceedings, which confirmed the improper billings in the grand jury report on June 29.

The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program has been pursuing improper ambulance service billings in the past several months for residents who have contacted them. HICAP has had a very high rate of success in getting refunds paid to Medicare beneficiaries.

HICAP is a program of the Legal Center for the Elderly and Disabled and supported by a grant from the El Dorado County Area Agency on Aging. It is a volunteer supported program providing assistance with questions about Medicare and other health insurance, including long-term care insurance and prescription drug discount programs. HICAP counselors are trained and registered by the California Department of Aging to help consumers understand their health care rights, provide information about Medicare benefits and how to appeal Medicare claim denials. HICAP provides full legal assistance and representation at Medicare appeals and administrative hearings. Assistance is free and includes community presentations and individual counseling.

To make an appointment with HICAP, call the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center at (530) 542-6094. For more information about an ambulance bill, be prepared to bring any documentation that would provide information on the ambulance billing. Having this information may expedite a determination of the circumstances concerning a specific billing.