Who pays for ambulance services?
Although funding is not required, the Government of Alberta provides significant funding for the provision of emergency medical services. The bill patients receive for emergency health services only represents a portion of the actual cost of the services provided. Payment of this bill is the responsibility of the patient unless they fall into other categories of coverage.
Alberta Health pays the complete cost of ambulance services for seniors age 65 and over. This program is administered by Alberta Blue Cross. Seniors age 65 and over enrolled in the plan do not receive a bill for ambulance services.
First Nations clients
Health Canada pays the user fee for emergency medical services for First Nations people.
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 plans offered by insurance providers.
Albertans transported by ground ambulance from one hospital to another to receive a higher level of care will 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 that you have received please email Alberta Health Services Billing Inquiries or call 1-877-506-3230.
Ambulance services outside Alberta
All Albertans, including seniors, must pay the cost of emergency ambulance services and interfacility transfers when travelling outside Alberta because 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.
IMPORTANT: We strongly advise Albertans travelling outside of the province to make sure their supplementary health insurance or travel medical insurance will assist with the cost of ground or air ambulance services whenever they leave Alberta.
Ambulance services outside Canada
Albertans travelling outside Canada should make sure that they have a supplementary medical insurance plan that will cover the cost of ground/air ambulance transport back to Alberta if it becomes necessary.
Alberta ground ambulance services do not normally provide any services outside of the province. This means an Alberta ambulance will not travel out of the province to bring home an Albertan who has been injured or becomes ill outside of Alberta.