EMSA launches TotalCare communications program
TotalCare renewal period starts June 1
Tulsa, Okla. (May 22, 2012) – Tulsa-area residents are now receiving information in their water bill about the upcoming renewal period for the TotalCare program, which begins June 1.
EMSA has employed additional steps this year to better educate the community about the TotalCare program and address any questions or concerns individuals have about the program and how it works.
“We want residents to make an informed decision about whether or not it is beneficial for them to subscribe to the TotalCare program based on their current needs,” said Angela Lehman, vice president of financial services for EMSA. “We realize if you’ve never been transported by ambulance that you might not understand how the insurance and billing process works so we want to help walk people through that process and explain how subscribing to TotalCare can save them money should they have an emergency.”
An enhanced water bill insert, printed envelope, additional postcard mailer and non-subscriber postcard are arriving in mailboxes for individuals who receive water service through the City of Tulsa.
Additionally, a dedicated website area at www.emsaonline.com houses FAQs while a dedicated phone number (918) 396-2888 has been set up to answer residents’ questions.
TotalCare coverage facts
The increased communications efforts will address three main areas of confusion for residents:
· Insurance billing practices: EMSA bills insurance providers for the transport. For TotalCare subscribers who are covered by insurance, the program covers any additional fees or out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments or deductibles. Every patient receives a statement from EMSA after an ambulance transport typically notifying the patient of the amount EMSA will bill the insurance provider or to request additional insurance information.
· Emergency versus non-emergency transport: All emergency transports in EMSA’s service area are fully covered. An emergency is defined as an unforeseen condition that requires urgent and unscheduled medical attention. Emergency transports always result in the ambulance taking the patient to a hospital emergency room. TotalCare benefits on non-emergency transports can vary, depending on insurance coverage and destination.
· Program enrollment status: Knowing current program enrollment status is important for all residents especially those in multi-housing units who do not have a water bill in their name. By city ordinance, property managers must notify residents annually if the property is covered under the City of Tulsa’s utility fee TotalCare program. If you do not know if you are covered, contact your property manager or the City of Tulsa’s utilities department at (918) 596-9511.
“We are very confident in the TotalCare program and have been able to save thousands of residents millions of dollars through the program,” said Lehman. “We care about our patients and residents in our communities, which is why we felt it was important to increase communication about the TotalCare program to better educate the public and address any concerns before the opt-in period begins June 1.”
New city ordinance affecting enrollment goes into effect
The new enrollment process goes into effect this year. Previously, residents were automatically enrolled in the program, but allowed to opt out during June each year. However, this year whatever a resident’s current status is, whether a subscriber or not, will remain the same unless they choose to opt-in or out during the month of June.
The TotalCare utilities billing program was launched in 2007 by EMSA and the City of Tulsa to provide an easier option for residents to subscribe to the TotalCare program established nearly 20 years ago to alleviate the financial stress residents undergo when a medical emergency requires ambulance transport. The program is designed to cover the cost of ambulance transportation for individuals whose current health insurance does not cover ambulance services, or to cover out of pocket costs, including copayments and minimum deductibles, for individuals whose provider does cover ambulance services.
The program's price of $3.64 per month is conveniently included on a resident’s regular city utilities bill, and benefits apply to all permanent members of the household.
Nearly 20,000 Tulsa residents use the TotalCare program each year and pay no out-of-pocket fees for ambulance services. Last year alone, EMSA wrote off more than $5 million in charges for Tulsa-area residents as a result of the program.
Since launching utility fee programs in most of EMSA’s service communities, nearly 20 percent of all ambulance transports, which totaled more than 500,000 statewide, have been enrolled in the TotalCare program saving them a combined total of $43 million. A typical ambulance transport costs $1,100 plus mileage, but TotalCare subscribers pay less than $45 a year to receive the emergency service for free.
TotalCare by the Numbers (eastern division only):
Fiscal year 2011 –
· 3,084 patients had full emergency transport costs written off, saving a total of $3,527,460 [uninsured or underinsured patients with no insurance coverage for ambulance service]
· 8,885 patients had partial emergency transport costs written off, saving a total of $1,195,995 [insured patients with co-payments or deductibles]
· Total patient runs using TotalCare of 11,969 equaling $4,723,455 in savings
· 67,648 total transports in EMSA’s eastern division
Since TotalCare membership available through city water bill in 2007 –
· 22,101 patient transports had full emergency transport costs written off, saving a total of $20,858,302 [uninsured or underinsured patients with no insurance coverage for ambulance service]
· 40,089 patient transports had partial emergency transport costs written off, saving a total of $3,233,137 [insured patients with co-payments or deductibles]
· Total patient runs using TotalCare of 62,190 equaling $24,091,439 in savings
· 307,769 total transports in EMSA’s eastern division
Important links on emsaonline.com
City of Tulsa TotalCare information
Return to the Safety Resource Center