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Should You Uber to the Hospital?

Men's Health

Men's Health

Carissa Moshier, Staff Writer

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Insurance companies decide if ambulance rides are covered based on what they deem medical necessities.

With strict rules and an expensive ride, people are avoiding ambulances and choosing to ride in Ubers instead, according to a University of Kansas study.

The study found that in places where Uber exists, ambulances have seen a seven percent decrease in use per capita and claims people are taking Ubers in place of ambulances. To save money, people are risking their health for a cheaper ride.   

An ambulance ride can cost $400 to $1,200, along with mileage. The average cost for an UberX is less than one dollar per mile. A $400 UberX ride would take you 400 miles.

But an Uber, unlike an ambulance, doesn’t give the medical attention the passenger may need.

Ambulances provide treatment on the way to the hospital to prevent worsening or troubling symptoms. Some people are sedated, some are given oxygen masks and other forms of treatment that adds to the costs of their bill.

The bill includes the costs of the things like services provided, staff required. The bill will be more if you need a specialist with you. That bill would most likely increase more if Uber continues to be the ride of choice instead of ambulances.

Passengers in Ubers might be healthier and might not need an ambulance, but they are still too sick to drive themselves to the hospital and might not have someone to drive them. People don’t always know when symptoms are serious but would find out had they called an ambulance. Ambulances also lower waiting times for patients whereas Uber rides will have someone who cannot drive themselves waiting with people who could.

A ride to get treatment for a health issue shouldn’t cost so much that people would rather put their health at risk than pay that bill. A patient in an Uber ride needed medical attention and couldn’t afford it, they might not make it to the hospital in time, especially because Uber can’t go as fast as the ambulance.

To reduce the risk, ambulances should be covered by insurance with the possible exception of medical equipment and services.

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Should You Uber to the Hospital?