FireMed membership a small price to pay

Soon after one of the first Alarm Box columns appeared, it was requested that we include a column about FireMed. Since this is the month of the annual FireMed campaign, it’s a great time to talk about it. FireMed is an ambulance membership offered by Ashland Fire & Rescue. The membership will cover either ground or ground and air ambulance expenses, depending on the level of service you choose, to all local area hospitals. The membership includes everyone in the household and provides coverage here in Ashland, and in most areas of the state. 

If you are saying right now, “I’m healthy and can’t imagine needing an ambulance,” think again. Believe it or not, we have quite a few active and healthy patients who didn’t intend on riding in an ambulance. Some of our patients are active hikers or cyclists who take a fall or crash on the trail system. Some of our patients are skiers on Mount Ashland or have fallen off of a ladder. Some of our patients don’t have a great creative story to tell, but had a health issue sneak up on them. Our ambulance patients are young and old (you decide where you fit!), male and female, active and slowing down, athletes and artists. Our patients cross all of the demographics of our community. 

How does FireMed work? FireMed covers the cost of the emergency ambulance service that you receive with no out-of-pocket expense for you. Did you know that a ground ambulance ride costs about $1,000 or more depending on where the patient is transported from? And about $7,000 if a helicopter ambulance is used? With a FireMed membership, no one in your household will pay a dime of the costs. You might want to give FireMed as a gift or make sure that your loved ones are covered. 

Typical health insurance policies cover 50-85% of the cost of ambulance service leaving the balance to you. If you have insurance, your insurance is billed and FireMed covers the balance. If you do not have insurance, FireMed covers the entire bill. 

Another great benefit of the FireMed membership is that we have a reciprocal agreement with Mercy Flights, so you are covered throughout Jackson County. And, there are more than 80 FireMed locations providing coverage throughout most of the state of Oregon. 

The cost for FireMed is pretty reasonable. It’s $55 for FireMed emergency ground ambulance service and $99 for FireMed Plus which includes both ground and Mercy Flights Air. If you sign up today, your membership will last through the end of October 2016. You don’t need to live in the city to sign up for membership. 

We have FireMed in our household. Thankfully we haven’t had to use it, but at least we know it’s there. We try to be careful, and we hope we don’t need to use it, but who knows when we might. If we don’t use it, we know that the money spent is helping to provide great emergency medical coverage in the Ashland area. 

For more information about Ashland FireMed or to sign up, see our website at www.ashland.or.us/firemed or call us at 541-482-2770.

The Alarm Box, a column with local public safety information, appears triweekly in the Tidings. Margueritte Hickman is a division chief/fire marshal with Ashland Fire & Rescue. Email topic suggestions to her at margueritte.hickman@ashland.or.us.

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