Montgomery Co. considers fees for ambulance rides

Without ambulance fees, County Executive Ike Leggett says he\'d need to cut $11 million dollars from the budget. (MontgomeryCounty.gov)

WASHINGTON – A bill is being proposed in Montgomery County that would charge a fee for ambulance rides to the hospital.

Opponents of the proposal worry residents might think twice about calling 911 in an emergency. County Executive Ike Leggett says there’s no evidence people hold back in neighboring counties, all of which have similar fees.

Under the plan, only insurance company will get billed, not individuals.

“If you have insurance in Montgomery County, you are paying for this cost,” Leggett told WTOP in April. “The customers are already paying for it. They’re paying for it right now. We just don’t have a way to collect it.”

The fee would produce about $17 million per year, the county executive says.

“If we are not able to come up with additional revenues, and if we’re not able to reduce the budget to that point, we’re going to have to find another way to do this,” he says.

Without the fees, Leggett says he’d need to cut $11 million dollars from the budget.

The County Council’s Public Safety committee is taking a look at Leggett’s proposal and the full council is expected to discuss the bill on Tuesday, May 15.

In 2010, county residents rejected ambulance fees in a referendum.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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