Skip to content

Return to the Full Article View You can republish this story for free. Click the "Copy HTML" button below. Questions? Get more details.

Watch: In Emergencies, First Comes the Ambulance. Then Comes the Bill.

When her 9-year-old daughter was having trouble breathing, Yvette Hammonds took her to a local emergency room. It quickly became clear that girl needed to be transferred to the children’s hospital about 40 minutes away in Atlanta, so her daughter was loaded into an ambulance.

Months later, Hammonds received a bill for nearly $1,000: the cost of the ground ambulance ride from one in-network hospital to another.

In this installment of InvestigateTV and KFF Health News’ “Costly Care” series, Caresse Jackman, InvestigateTV’s national consumer investigative reporter, probes the lack of cost protections for patients who find themselves needing an ambulance ride to care.

Jackman’s story features an interview with Elisabeth Rosenthal, KFF Health News’ senior contributing editor. “When you need an ambulance, you need an ambulance,” Rosenthal said. “And that’s the worst time in your life to be a consumer, when you have no choice.”

KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling, and journalism. Learn more about KFF.

Some elements may be removed from this article due to republishing restrictions. If you have questions about available photos or other content, please contact