Ambulance fee increase could have far-reaching impact

Those who need ambulance transport in Urbana, Champaign and surrounding communities could face higher costs following the City of Urbana’s vote this week to increases its license fee.

“We don’t want any patient to forgo calling 911 for the emergency care they need because they’re worried about the bill,” Arrow Ambulance Director Larry Sapp said.

“We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with the Urbana Fire Department, which allows Arrow crews to work out of some stations with the constant and community-wide goal of reaching patients as quickly and safely as possible.”

Here are key facts related to the City’s decision to increase the annual ambulance license fee from $500 to $12,000—which amounts to a 2,300 percent increase.

  • Arrow Ambulance’s goal, first and foremost, is to provide timely and effective pre-hospital care to everyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Arrow Ambulance is a division of Carle but is a separate entity that supports itself.
  • The organizations do not focus on profit but rather on providing the best for patients.

In fact, many years Arrow loses money, and other years the ambulance service has a very slim margin. 

These are yearly ambulance license fees for non-exclusive ambulance services likes Arrow.

  • Champaign: $125
  • Danville: $150
  • Chicago:  $600
  • Miami-Dade: $1,500

The unplanned payment could impact Arrow’s ability to invest in operational improvements.

While Arrow strives to avoid passing along rate hikes to patients, an increase of this magnitude eventually could affect them.