Who pays for ambulance services?

Ambulance rates

Patients are charged – if they receive a bill –  only a small portion of the actual cost of emergency health services (EMS) provided.

  • The Alberta government provides funding for EMS.
  • The Canada Health Act does NOT require EMS / ambulance services to be funded as an insured service.

Current rates

All Albertans, regardless of where they live in the province, pay the same rate for ground ambulance service in Alberta.

The provincial rate has 2 fees:

  • $250 if a patient is treated at the scene, but not transported to a hospital, or
  • $385 if a patient is transported to a hospital.

An additional $200 is charged to a patient who is a non-resident of Alberta, whether the patient is transported or not.

Ambulance fee exemptions

Payment for ambulance services is the responsibility of the patient unless they are exempt.

Seniors

Seniors, age 65 and over, enrolled in the Coverage for Seniors program – which is free – do not receive a bill for ambulance services. Alberta Health pays the complete cost of ambulance services.

First Nations

Health Canada pays the user fee for emergency medical services for First Nations people.

Income support

Alberta Human Services pays the cost of emergency ambulance services for Albertans receiving health benefits through Income Support, Adult Health Benefits or Alberta Child Health Benefits.

Non-group supplementary insurance

Albertans can avoid emergency ambulance charges by purchasing supplementary medical insurance, such as the Alberta Blue Cross Non-Group Coverage Plan or other supplementary plans offered by insurance providers.

Inter-hospital transfer

Albertans transported by ground ambulance from one hospital to another to receive a higher level of care do not receive bills for the costs involved.

  • The cost of these inter-facility transfers are covered when a patient’s physician recommends the transfer is medically necessary.

If you have any questions regarding an ambulance bill you have received email Alberta Health Services Billing Inquiries or call 1-877-506-3230.

Ambulance services outside Alberta and Canada

All Albertans, including seniors, must pay the cost of emergency ambulance services and interfacility transfers when travelling outside Alberta. These services are not covered by inter-provincial reciprocal health care agreements.

  • Air ambulance services are not insured services under the Canada Health Act, and in most provinces, are not covered by inter-provincial reciprocal agreements.
  • An Alberta ambulance will not travel out of the province to bring an injured or sick Albertan back to Alberta.

Whenerver you travel outside of the province, it is recommended you have supplementary health insurance or travel medical insurance to assist with the cost of ground or air ambulance services, or other medical services you may need.

If you travel outside Canada, make sure you have a supplementary medical insurance plan that will cover the cost of ground/air ambulance transport back to Alberta.