Wake County residents can sign up for ambulance services subscription to help with costs
Raleigh resident Linden Winterberger said she and her wife Celeste use an ambulance three to four times a year. "My wife is disabled and has a neural stimulator in her back," said Winterberger. "And she also is a severe diabetic, luckily controlled by pump and etc. But I have had to use the 911 EMS many times when she has gone really low in her blood sugar or one time when she accidentally slipped and fell in her walk-in shower." The Winterbergers have participated in the Wake County EMS Subscription Program for more than 10 years. The subscription costs $60 a year and it covers the costs of ambulance services your insurance doesn't cover. Wake County EMS Assistant Chief Brian Brooks said the costs of the services could be more than $500. "Most insurance companies, including Medicare, do not cover 100% of an ambulance transport," said Brooks. "We send the bill to the insurance company and what's left over is left for you to pay. And what the subscription plan does is it waves that fee after the insurance company pays the portion that they choose to pay." Though the program has been around a while, Brooks said it's growing in popularity. You have to have Medicare or private insurance to qualify. You won't be eligible if you have Medicaid or are uninsured. It needs to be a Wake County ambulance that responds to be covered. The subscription applies to anyone in your household, and for Winterberger, it is worth it. "I was using it a couple-three times a year because I kept falling down," Winterberger said. "So yeah, I mean, if you just use it once, it totally pays for itself and then some." Signups for next year just started this month and the subscription will last through next Dec. 31. According to Brooks, if you subscribe and don't need to use the service, the subscription fee you paid is considered a donation to the EMS fund. Wake County has more information about the program on its website.