NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A News4 I-Team investigation has exposed how getting help fast could end up costing you big time.
After one man got an unexpected bill and couldn't get answers as to why, he contacted the News4 I-Team for help.
Feb. 6 is a night Edward Morris will never forget.
“The water was up around our knees,” said Morris.
Morris was driving home with his wife when the car got stuck in high water, so he called 911 for help.
During the water rescue, Morris’s wife suffered a mild heart attack. A Nashville EMS ambulance rushed her to St. Thomas West.
She's OK but fast forward a few weeks when a bill for $846 shows up for that single ride.
Consumer Investigator Lindsay Bramson asked, "You were surprised when you got a bill for that much? I was astounded when I got a bill for that much,” said Morris.
Morris has health and auto insurance, so he waited to pay it, but the city kept sending the bills, including one that said final notice.
“Lyft would've been better. Initially I thought this could be some sort of scam because it sounded so outrageous,” said Morris.
According to a spokesperson for Nashville Fire, the department sends those bills to insurance companies first.
But if that’s the case, why did Morris get three different bills if his insurance hadn't determined yet what they would pay?
We wanted someone with the Nashville Fire Department to explain, in person, how the billing process works, but our repeated requests for an interview were denied.
Metro Councilman Steve Glover believes the cost of the ambulance is fair but doesn't have answers about the billing process.
Bramson asked, “Do you think the fire department should sit down with me and answer some of these questions? Well, I mean I’m sitting down and answering it so it would be ridiculous of me to say no. They should,” said Glover.
And guess what happened three months after the accident and after the city sent a final notice? Insurance paid their bill in full.
His concern is that others may not be so vigilant when a bill from the city arrives.
“It seems to me something should be done to protect people who are more vulnerable than we are,” said Morris.
The takeaway here is don't pay your bill without questioning your insurance companies first.
So, what can you do to prepare for a bill like this in case you or a loved one should need an ambulance?
The state said make sure your current insurance policy is updated.
“You should make sure you have some coverage for ambulance service if that's a thing you're concerned about. You could get stuck with an unforeseen medical bill that you didn't see coming,” said Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
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