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I always wondered how much something like this would cost. I'm pretty confident regular health insurance doesn't cover that kind of rescue/ride to the hospital.
No, it doesn't. But, there is helicopter ride insurance. I believe it's under a $100 a year. I'm not big on insurance. But, it's well worth it if you ride a lot and push yourself. I've heard of a few $30,000 helicopter rides. It's something our tax dollars used to pay for. But, you know how that goes. As time goes on, we pay more in taxes and get less for it.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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S&R by public entities (sheriff, state troopers, national guard, police, etc.) usually costs nothing. That's part of their job and it's funded by taxes. They usually do not have any EMS equipment though and if the person rescued is in any kind of medical emergency, they will usually transfer the person to an EMS helicopter or ambulance that can provide the required care. It's rare for them to bring someone to the hospital. The one exception is the coast guard, who does have helicopters equipped like EMS operators. Some states may have a law that charges a negligent person for the public resources rescue, but if challenged in court this probably would not hold up to all but the most negligent types, which is the point. If you go out in Phoenix in the middle of summer with no water and get yourself stranded on a rock ledge, you probably deserve to pay up. If you go out there and break your leg though, something you weren't planning on and couldn't reasonably avoid, then you don't deserve to be charged for the use of public resources. These public resources are the only ones that can pluck people from dangerous situations, like mountain-sides, etc. That's what they are for.
 
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I broke my femur last December in San Diego city limits (MTRP). Free SDFD helicopter out to the horse staging area where they tossed me in low budget ambulance to get me to the trauma center at Sharp. Thankfully I was not at one of my normal riding spots. I got a bill for the ambulance but not the chopper
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I did a bit of research on this in the past. In California, certain areas have contracts with local emergency response teams. For example, Angeles National Forest has contracts with Sheriff's search/rescue (volunteers) where they don't charge for their rescues. Same with Sheriff's search/rescue and Cal Fire in the Malibu region (north of Topanga). However, South of Topanga is LAFD's area, and they DO charge for their services. I'm confident the person who got rescued from Sullivan gets charged big dollars. What I don't know is HOW MUCH! LAFD's page specifically says they charge for all of their services. It also says they will forgive the charges if the person cannot pay (lives below poverty line).

Basically, they send a hefty bill. Then you're supposed to contact them and fill out forms with information on your assets and income. They will reduce the bill accordingly.

Since this is the area I ride frequently, I purchased a search and rescue insurance policy through Garmin. If you guy a Garmin Inreach (I have the mini), you can buy $50K of search/rescue insurance for about $30/year. Well worth it in my opinion. However (and this is a big catch), the rescue has to be initiated through the Garmin Inreach device. So if I hit my head and pass out, and someone else calls 911 for my rescue, I won't be covered.

I also have some experience from calling 911 for getting emergency services for my parents. LAFD paramedics showed up when my elderly mom fell down. They said they would charge to take her to the hospital, but no charge for bandaging her up and putting her in my car so I can take her to the hospital. My mom was on Medicare and they would only pay a portion of the bill. So I drove her to the hospital after they stabilized her.

My dad (in his 90's) would sometimes pass out for a few minutes. He was in Beverly Hills with some friends when he passed out. They called BHFD. They showed up and my dad had woken and was alright. They didn't take him to the hospital. We got a $2,000 bill from Beverly Hills FD!!! They charge for just showing up and doing nothing!!!!! The big problem is that every municipality has their own rules.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I did a bit of research on this in the past. In California, certain areas have contracts with local emergency response teams. For example, Angeles National Forest has contracts with Sheriff's search/rescue (volunteers) where they don't charge for their rescues. Same with Sheriff's search/rescue and Cal Fire in the Malibu region (north of Topanga). However, South of Topanga is LAFD's area, and they DO charge for their services. I'm confident the person who got rescued from Sullivan gets charged big dollars. What I don't know is HOW MUCH! LAFD's page specifically says they charge for all of their services. It also says they will forgive the charges if the person cannot pay (lives below poverty line).

Basically, they send a hefty bill. Then you're supposed to contact them and fill out forms with information on your assets and income. They will reduce the bill accordingly.

Since this is the area I ride frequently, I purchased a search and rescue insurance policy through Garmin. If you guy a Garmin Inreach (I have the mini), you can buy $50K of search/rescue insurance for about $30/year. Well worth it in my opinion. However (and this is a big catch), the rescue has to be initiated through the Garmin Inreach device. So if I hit my head and pass out, and someone else calls 911 for my rescue, I won't be covered.

I also have some experience from calling 911 for getting emergency services for my parents. LAFD paramedics showed up when my elderly mom fell down. They said they would charge to take her to the hospital, but no charge for bandaging her up and putting her in my car so I can take her to the hospital. My mom was on Medicare and they would only pay a portion of the bill. So I drove her to the hospital after they stabilized her.

My dad (in his 90's) would sometimes pass out for a few minutes. He was in Beverly Hills with some friends when he passed out. They called BHFD. They showed up and my dad had woken and was alright. They didn't take him to the hospital. We got a $2,000 bill from Beverly Hills FD!!! They charge for just showing up and doing nothing!!!!! The big problem is that every municipality has their own rules.
Reading the fine print here:


If the transportation isn't to a hospital, IE just search and rescue, it looks like they would only be charged mileage at $19/mile.

(c) Notwithstanding the above schedule, the Fire Chief shall have authority to set rates for providing ambulance and helicopter transport services to members of prepaid health plans for the purpose of providing patients transportation directly to a designated hospital
This is a unique case where the public asset is providing EMS and for that, they are seeking reimbursement:

Sec. 22.210.2. Reimbursement for Rendering Emergency Ambulance and Helicopter Service.

(a) The Fire Chief is authorized and directed to charge and receive reimbursement for City expenses incurred in rendering emergency ambulance and helicopter service to any patient at the rates set forth in this Article. These rates charged by the City for rendering emergency service represent in each instance only a full or partial recovery of, and do not exceed, the City incurred costs in providing these services.

(b) Schedule of Charges for Emergency Service. Emergency Ambulance Service Rendered By City Personnel Charges Advanced Life Support Fee, Each Patient $1,452.00 Basic Life Support Fee, Each Patient $1,030.00 Mileage One Way Per Mile $19.00

(c) Notwithstanding the above schedule, the Fire Chief shall have authority to set rates for providing ambulance and helicopter transport services to members of prepaid health plans for the purpose of providing patients transportation directly to a designated hospital.

(d) Any patient receiving emergency ambulance service, the fees for which are not covered by and reimbursable from a policy of insurance, shall be exempt from the payment requirement if that patient qualifies for lowincome status. A patient qualifies for lowincome status if the combined gross income of all members of the household in which that patient resides is at or below the levels established by or thereafter adjusted by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles, consistent with standards established by the State Public Utilities Commission for lowincome subsidies, in determining eligibility for lowincome subsidy credits and reduced rates for electrical and water service to residential households. For purposes of this Article, "gross income" includes all revenues from whatever source, whether taxable or nontaxable.
Which kind of circles back to my point, except in unique cases, like the Coast Guard, expect to pay if EMS is being rendered. EMS is different than S&R.

And this is all what is F-ed up with our health care "system"...
 

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Those fees have increased:

And if LAFD has to land and pick me up from Sullivan Canyon, it's not because I got lost!

I would love to hear from someone who needed emergency helicopter lift to a hospital from the LAFD. Did they actually get a bill? How much? And how much of it was paid by their insurance?
 

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Why shouldn’t EMS charge someone? Personal responsibility goes a very long ways. Whichever Department provided the medical services has payroll, helicopter maintenance, training etc that all needs to be paid for. For whatever reason people in the United States think Healthcare is a god given right, if that was the case simple praying would fix us up. If someone wants to use the services either pay for them or have the foresight as others on the thread have said and buy the insurance, it sucks but everyone is entitled to get paid for their services.
 

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chasing simplicity
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I was brought back to life on the trail by a helicopter coreman and flown to the local hospital in an L.A. County fire hawk. 3-person team. I never saw a charge.
 

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chasing simplicity
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I think I've told it on here somewhere…happened nearly 6 years ago. Ironically amd sadly, the medic who got to me just as I flatlined and was able to shock my heart amd get it started passed away in his sleep from a heart attack. Something not right about that. They recently honored him posthumously. I had become friends with the team.

 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Why shouldn't EMS charge someone? Personal responsibility goes a very long ways. Whichever Department provided the medical services has payroll, helicopter maintenance, training etc that all needs to be paid for. For whatever reason people in the United States think Healthcare is a god given right, if that was the case simple praying would fix us up. If someone wants to use the services either pay for them or have the foresight as others on the thread have said and buy the insurance, it sucks but everyone is entitled to get paid for their services.
Because in a modern civilized society, healthcare should be a right. Yeah, **** is expensive, just like the military. They got helicopters too. Or can I pay less tax to not spend my money on them?
 
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