New Jersey Charging for Fire/First-Aid Service?
While many private ambulance services ask local residents to pay an annual membership fee in order to defray costs of actually using an ambulance, some residents of New Jersey might soon have to pay if they need the fire department as well.
According to Insurance Journal, the Salem, NJ city council has recently adopted an ordinance that allows fire departments to charge money in order to recoup costs.
According to Fire Chief Fred Ayars, this ordinance isn’t designed to take money out of residents’ pockets, but to get it from insurance companies. Apparently, if local fire departments adopt a schedule of fees, most fire and insurance policies will reimburse them for expenses.
The Chief also told the press that if a resident doesn’t have insurance, there will be no fee incurred.
Elsewhere in New Jersey, the city of Cape May is considering an $8/mile assessment for ambulance service to help balance the 2011 budget. There’s already a $500 charge for ambulance service in Cape May; this assessment would increase that fee by roughly $100, however, the local press reports that Cape May’s mayor, Ed Mahaney, has expressed concern that some people would choose not to call for an ambulance because of the additional cost.