EMSA rates will not go up, OKC council votes down rate hike

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OKLAHOMA CITY – EMSA will not get to raise their rates from $1,500 to $1,800 for each transport.

The Oklahoma City Council voted down the proposal Tuesday.

Officials asked city leaders if they could charge more per transport in July.

Back in July, OKC Councilman Ed Shadid said, “A 50 percent rate hike in the next two years is substantial.”

Councilman Shadid said the proposed rate hike unfairly punishes the uninsured while most insurance companies also don’t pay the full cost to transport.

“The system is tilted against those that don’t have insurance they would be expected to pay the full $1,800,” Shadid said in July. “Even though insurance companies, like Medicare, only pay $600.”

“Health care financing is frustrating,” EMSA’s Steve Williamson said.

Williamson told the council the reimbursement system may not be fair but it’s beyond EMSA’s control.

“There is a huge difference in cash and insurance payments and it’s why the system isn’t sustainable but it is the fact today,” Williamson said.

One compromise could involve a one-year rate increase of $200 with a plan to re-evaluate after that.

“We need to study why the costs are going up so quickly and take it one year at a time as opposed to multi-year rate increases,” Shadid said.

If people pay for Totalcare, they can avoid paying for transports but only 80 percent of households in the metro take part.

That leaves 20 percent exposed.

That’s a significantly higher number than in Tulsa which also uses EMSA.

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