With No Legal Guardrails for Patients, Ambulances Drive Surprise Medical Billing

School librarian Amanda Brasfield bent over to grab her lunch from a small refrigerator and felt her heart begin to race. Even after lying on her office floor and closing her eyes, her heart kept pounding and fluttering in her chest. The school nurse checked Brasfield’s pulse, found it too fast to count and called 911 for an ambulance. Soon after the May 2018 incident, Brasfield, now 39, got a $1,206 bill for the 4-mile ambulance ride across the northwestern Ohio city of Findlay more than $300 a mile. And she was on the hook for $859 of it because the only emergency medical service in the city has no contract with the insurance plan she has through her government job. More than two years later, what was diagnosed as a relatively minor heart rhythm problem hasn’t caused any more health issues for Brasfield, but the bill caused her some heartburn.” I felt like it was too much,” she said. “I wasn’t dying.”