ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Roane County answers nearly 800 calls a month for emergency ambulance service. Basic calls for help start at $350.
Emergency management director Howie Rose wants to raise the cost of a basic ambulance ride to$450 to make up for patients who can't pay.
"12% of the patients transported by the ambulance division are uninsured," said Rose. Couple that with an increase in what Medicare is willing to pay the county for ambulance service, and Rose says it just makes sense to hike the fee. "We're leaving money on the table for those Medicare patients out there."
James Greene, who's getting up in age, has seen the inside of an ambulance firsthand. "I'm satisfied with giving them the increase they need to make it so it will be available. I have used an ambulance service. I think it should be here," said Greene.
Rose points to other reasons for a rate hike, like what other East Tennessee counties charge, and how long it's been since the last increase.
"I don't know when the last time, to be honest with you. I don't know when the last time they raised the rates. It's been a long time," Rose said.
What he does know is no one will be denied emergency ambulance service, and paramedics won't ask for your credit card before they treat you. "No, not at all. That's why you don't get the bill until many days later."
Roane County commissioners will decide on the rate increase proposal in November.