Longwood offering ambulance subscriptions

Will cover costs of ambulance use not paid for by insurance

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Changes in health insurance rules mean that local residents might find themselves charged for parts of some ambulance calls. A new subscription service from Longwood fire Company allows residents to pay a once-a-year fee to cover anything insurance doesn’t pay. Photo courtesy Longwood Fire Company.

POCOPSON — Longwood Fire Company’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator, Tammy Whiteman, explained the company’s ambulance subscription drive during Monday’s township Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

Whiteman told supervisors that Longwood EMS decided to begin the subscription program because insurance companies, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, are changing 911 ambulance reimbursement causing more and more individuals to be billed for services once covered by their insurance plans.

Whiteman noted that some individuals, especially older citizens who have no other way to get to the hospital for treatment, are “not calling 9-1-1 or waiting way too long because they are worried about the bill they are going to get.”

Any balance not covered by a subscribers insurance, after co-pays or deductibles, will be covered during the membership period, according to Whiteman. Membership for a single individual over 18 is $50 per year; a household with one or two adults including any children under  18 and living in the same residence is $100 per year. If ambulance service is not utilized within the subscription year, the fee can be used as a federal income tax deduction.

The brochure states that ambulance service is not provided for non-emergency calls and club subscription is only available to individuals and families who carry valid health insurance.

Last year, Longwood Fire Company responded to more than 2000 calls across Pocopson, East Marlborough and Pennsbury townships and parts of Kennett and Newlin townships. Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary noted the win-win for township residents, stating ” membership covers what would not be paid by insurance, and it’s a way to donate to a valuable service.”

Whiteman says one hundred percent of membership fees will be used to provide training, equipment, emergency vehicles, supplies and operating costs needed by the staff of paid and volunteer EMS professionals.

When asked about ambulance “response time” for Pocopson Township, Whiteman said crews “are in the range of 5-7 minutes.”  She added, however, times vary depending on what time of day or night the dispatch is received and how difficult it may be to find the physical address.

Supervisor Ricki Stumpo asked about the “green” reflective address signs being sold by Longwood Fire Company to aide EMS crews in finding township properties.

Whiteman told attendees that she would be selling the signs at Pocopson Founder’s Day in September. In the meantime, residents may purchase a sign for $15 at the Longwood Fire Company.

Also, Whiteman expressed interest in meeting with Home Owners’ Associations or other Civic Groups to explain the program and answer any questions. Contact her at 610-388-6880 or email ambulanceclub@longwoodfireco.com. Residents will  be mailed further information in the coming weeks.

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In other news, Conary updated residents regarding the Pocopson/Lenape Road left turning lane project slated to begin later this summer. Officials were waiting for a price from PECO to move a utility pole at the intersection before the project could be put out for rebid. Supervisors resolved to accept PECO’s price of just under $12,500 to relocate the pole and are hoping to consider bids at the July 9th meeting.

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