New Program Waives Ambulance Fees for Low Income Nova Scotians

Health and Wellness

August 30, 2012 11:03 AM

Some Nova Scotians will be able to have their ambulance fees waived under the new Ambulance Fee Assistance program, which takes effect Saturday, Sept. 1.

"As a former paramedic, I know that ambulance fees have been a hardship for some Nova Scotia families," said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. "Our most vulnerable should be able to call on the province's ambulance service in an emergency without worrying about how to pay the bill, and this new program ensures that. Programs like this one are helping to make life more affordable for Nova Scotians."

In May, the province announced reduced ambulances fees for Nova Scotians living in licensed long-term care facilities and for those who have reduced mobility. These fee changes came into effect July 1.

It also said it would establish a process for low-income Nova Scotians to appeal ambulance fees. These changes fulfill a commitment of government's Better Care Sooner plan.

For a family to qualify for the Ambulance Fee Assistance program, they must meet the Statistics Canada Low Income Measure criteria. The Low Income Measure looks at median incomes of families and determines that if a household makes less than half of the median, it is considered low-income. There are different thresholds depending on family size.

"This new program will make a difference for patients who visit our clinic, especially seniors," said Paul O'Hara, social worker, North End Community Health Centre. "It will reduce both the financial and emotional stress they often feel when calling an ambulance."

The new program is not retroactive and can only be applied to ambulance bills dated Sept. 1, 2012 and later.

Most Nova Scotians with a valid health card pay $134.52 for emergency transport to a hospital.

For a full list of eligibility criteria or to apply, visit gov.ns.ca/health/ehs.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Some Nova Scotians will be able to have their ambulance

fees waived under the new Ambulance Fee Assistance program,

which takes effect Saturday (September 1st).

     Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson says Nova

Scotians should be able to call on the province's ambulance

service in an emergency without worrying about how to pay the

bill and that this new program will protect the most vulnerable.

     To apply or learn more, visit at w-w-w dot g-o-v dot n-s

dot c-a slash health slash e-h-s.

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Media Contact: Nicole Brooks
              Department of Health and Wellness
              902-424-2608
              E-mail: Nicole.Brooks@gov.ns.ca