POSTED: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 11:51am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 3:35am
Applications for the Jacksonville Fire Department’s ambulance membership program were included in this month’s water bill and are also currently available to be picked up at a number of locations around town. For an annual fee as low as $60, participants in the plan won’t have to pay out-of-pocket costs for any ambulance trips they need to take during the membership year.
Applicants with health insurance pay a $60 fee for enrollment in the program, while uninsured participants will pay $72 to become a member. Fire Chief Paul White said the average ambulance transport cost for a trip to the hospital is $550, so the membership program much more than pays for itself the first time it is used.
“ETMC (East Texas Medical Center) has a similar ambulance membership program, but theirs is for people outside of the city limits and ours is for residents of Jacksonville,” White said. “We do a lot of mutual aid with ETMC, and we both recognize each other’s subscription service, so there is no need to subscribe to both.”
The membership year starts on April 1 and continues through March 31 of 2011. There is no deadline for the applications, and open membership continues throughout the year, but the price remains the same regardless of when you become a participant.
Applications should presently be arriving around town in the city’s monthly water bill, but additional copies are also being kept at both fire stations, the Jacksonville Public Library and the Norman Activity Center. A copy of the application can also be downloaded from the city’s website, www.jacksonvilletx.org . Payment can be made in the form of a check, or $5 a month can also be added to your water bill.
Only one subscription is needed per household, and approximately 600 households took part in the plan last year. The applications were not sent to all of the city’s water users last year, and White believes their inclusion this year may result in an increased number of participants in the ambulance membership program.
“No matter how many times you need to use the ambulance during the membership year, you will still be covered, so for a high-risk household this is a very worthwhile program. I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they are likely to need to be taken to the hospital during the course of the next year,” White said.
The ambulance service only covers medically necessary trips to the hospital; it is not intended to be used as a shuttle to the hospital. For more information, please contact JFD at 903-586-7131.