911 is Expensive - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

911 is Expensive

Posted: Updated:

One of the great things about America if you have an emergency and dial 911 within minutes fire rescue will be there to rush you to the emergency. But did you know you have to pay for that ride? And it can be expensive. It's why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- We take it for granted in America but if you are having a heart attack, get hit by a car, any medical emergency, just dial 911 and you know the men and women from fire rescue will soon be there.

Pat Sumner: "And I was just making noises, just swinging my arms around and he couldn't wake me and he couldn't open my mouth."

Pat's husband dialed 911 within a few minutes BSO arrived and rushed her to a nearby hospital.

Pat Sumner: "The next thing I knew I was in the emergency room. First time I ever knew what was happening."

Doctors told pat she had a seizure because of low potassium. Today her health is fine, but not her peace of mind.

Pat Sumner: "I'm getting my doctors bill which I figured I would. Then I get an emergency rescue bill of $980 something dollars, and I thought how outrageous."

A $946 bill to be specific from fire rescue for the four mile drive to the emergency room.

Pat Sumner: "That's $250 a mile that's pretty good even with priced gas is a little much."

Fortunately, Pat and her husband have health insurance. They told Pat they would only pay $300 for the four mile trip.

Pat Sumner: "Because they are out of network they are not on an emergency plan. Well when you call 911 you don't look in your book to see who you are going to call or who is coming to the rescue."

The bill was from BSO but they have a contract with Cooper City, who sets the rates for transporting emergency 911 calls in their city. When people pay their property taxes there is a fee for fire rescue ranging from the hundreds to the thousands for fire rescue. Pat thought that covered you when you dial 911.

Pat Sumner: "We pay taxes to Cooper City thinking that if there is an emergency they are going to come. What do you pay taxes for where it says fire and rescue on your taxes? What is that for?

Pat thinks fire rescue is great. She thinks a $946 bill for using them in not.

Pat Sumner: "What allows them to charge this much? You know is there something that says what they can charge?"

Well Howard, when you pay your property taxes it shows you pay a fee for fire rescue so can they also bill you for using the emergency service?

Howard Finkelstein: "Even though you pay for fire rescue in your property taxes if you need a emergency transport, you may have to pay whatever your insurance company doesn't cover, and if you don't have insurance you have to pay the entire bill yourself."

We contacted Cooper City who pays Broward Fire Rescue $6,700,000 for the county to do their emergency transports. Cooper City then charges $850 transport to get their money back, and they charge extra if you need things like oxygen, an IV etc.

If you are transported in unincorporated Broward it's only $450. Fort Lauderdale is $700. Plantation is $510. Miami-Dade is $800. If you want to know what you may have to pay if you call 911, check your insurance policy.

Howard Finkelstein: "If you have an HMO you do not have to pay for the emergency transport. If you have a PPO and they don't cover the entire amount, you have to pay the difference. And if you can't afford to pay, the city or county can sue you or turn you over to a collection agency."

Pat is stuck with the bill and says she believes once other people find out how expensive that 911 call can be, she wonders if others will hesitate before picking up the phone.

Pat Sumner: "Do I call? Do they call? They can be having a heart attack and they won't want to call because of what it will cost."

Patrick Fraser: "Now if you call the police, they don't charge you. If they handcuff you and take you to jail, they don't charge you. Why does fire rescue charge even though property owners pay taxes for that? Because they can. It's great that they are there and the bottom line, if it's not an emergency and you can find another way to get to the hospital do it. Save yourself a lot of money and free fire rescue up to deal with emergencies."

Not an emergency that's alarming you? Need someone to rush to the rescue? Contact us, we wont transport you like the professionals, but we will drive over to help you.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN

  • Out for JusticeMore>>

  • Qualecia James

    Qualecia James

    Friday, July 11 2014 11:30 PM EDT2014-07-12 03:30:24 GMT
    Qualecia James (right) and her daughterQualecia James (right) and her daughter
    Last March, an afternoon out with friends ended in a barrage of bullets for a pregnant Miami Gardens mother. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, detectives made an arrest in the case last week, but their work is far from over, and they need your help to bring in the rest of the killers.
    Last March, an afternoon out with friends ended in a barrage of bullets for a pregnant Miami Gardens mother. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, detectives made an arrest in the case last week, but their work is far from over, and they need your help to bring in the rest of the killers.
  • Benoit Lessard

    Benoit Lessard

    Monday, June 16 2014 11:13 AM EDT2014-06-16 15:13:54 GMT
    He bought his little spot in the sun. Retired Canadian Benoit Lessard loved to spend winters in South Florida, but as Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a man with a gun turned his retirement heaven into hell. Fifteen years later, police are still trying to solve this cold case.
    He bought his little spot in the sun. Retired Canadian Benoit Lessard loved to spend winters in South Florida, but as Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a man with a gun turned his retirement heaven into hell. Fifteen years later, police are still trying to solve this cold case.
  • Annette Anderson/TJ Walker

    Annette Anderson/TJ Walker

    Friday, May 16 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-05-17 03:29:52 GMT
    Annette Anderson, TJ WalkerAnnette Anderson, TJ Walker
    Annette Anderson was a 69-year-old minister. TJ Walker was her 20-year-old grandson who had come to live with her while he went to school. And then, evil came through their door. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, one arrest has been made, and with your help, there could be more to come.
    Annette Anderson was a 69-year-old minister. TJ Walker was her 20-year-old grandson who had come to live with her while he went to school. And then, evil came through their door. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, one arrest has been made, and with your help, there could be more to come.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Finding a Burglar

    Finding a Burglar

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:39 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:39:48 GMT
    Loretta Clark's diamond necklace.Loretta Clark's diamond necklace.
    When his wife passed away, he was devastated. Today he feels even worse, because a necklace she loved, that was left for him, was stolen by a crook who broke into his home. So many people in South Florida are crime victims, but what can you do? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    When his wife passed away, he was devastated. Today he feels even worse, because a necklace she loved, that was left for him, was stolen by a crook who broke into his home. So many people in South Florida are crime victims, but what can you do? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Still Paying Debt 15 Years Later

    Still Paying Debt 15 Years Later

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-07-17 03:04:13 GMT
    In 1999, she was a teenager who had a car accident. A judge hit her with a judgment to pay for the other drivers medical bills. For 15 years off and on she has paid that judgment and today found out she owes more than the original debt, even though she has paid nearly the amount owed. Is that legal? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    In 1999, she was a teenager who had a car accident. A judge hit her with a judgment to pay for the other drivers medical bills. For 15 years off and on she has paid that judgment and today found out she owes more than the original debt, even though she has paid nearly the amount owed. Is that legal? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

  • Not Square

    Not Square

    Monday, July 14 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-15 03:26:20 GMT
    The Square cell phone device allows small business owners to swipe customers' credit cards.The Square cell phone device allows small business owners to swipe customers' credit cards.
    If you are self-employed or run a small business, you may be a person who uses the small device that attaches to your phone so your customers can pay with their credit card. It's incredibly convenient, but did you know they can hold your money for months and not tell you why? Is it legal? It's why one person called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    If you are self-employed or run a small business, you may be a person who uses the small device that attaches to your phone so your customers can pay with their credit card. It's incredibly convenient, but did you know they can hold your money for months and not tell you why? Is it legal? It's why one person called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.