Ambulance Fee Reductions

The Manitoba government reduced ambulance fees across the province effective January 1, 2017.

Billings to Manitobans for emergency ambulance services on or after April 1 will be reduced to either $425 or the pre-existing base fee established by the service provider, whichever is lower. In addition, all surcharges will be removed, including kilometre fees. This will apply to all bills related to primary ambulance calls to Manitoba residents holding a valid Manitoba Health insurance card regardless of payer.

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has formed a working group with representatives from the regional health authorities to continue to implement commitment to reduce current average ambulance fees of $500 by 50 per cent over four years.

Questions and Answers

Why are ambulance fees being reduced?

The Manitoba government recognizes that ambulance fees can be a financial burden.

A commitment has been made to reduce current average fees by 50 per cent by 2020. Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has formed a working group with representatives from the regional health authorities to continue to implement fee reductions.

Why do people have to pay fees for ambulance services in Manitoba?

Costs for transportation by ambulance are not insured by provinces, including Manitoba. These costs are the responsibility of the patient, whether a resident of Manitoba or elsewhere. This is because ambulance services are outside the scope of the Canada Health Act.

Who provides ambulance services in Manitoba?

Land ambulance services are delivered by a combination of providers, including the regional health authorities and other service providers under agreement with regional health authorities (eg: municipalities, First Nation communities).

Who sets the fees for ambulance services?

The land ambulance fees vary by the regional health authority, community or municipality offering the service. Typically, fees are used to offset the costs of operations, while the remainder of costs are subsidized by the province and other organizations.

What coverage does Manitoba provide for ambulance services?

For most Manitoba residents, inter-facility transfers by land ambulance (except those covered by other programs such as Health Canada, military, auto insurance, etc.) are provided at no cost to the patient. 

The Northern Patient Transportation Program (NPTP) is a subsidy for medically necessary transportation for residents of Manitoba located in the applicable northern regional health authorities who cannot access these services in their community.

The STARS program provides helicopter transportation to patients requiring critical and emergent care within a 250 kilometre radius of Winnipeg. Manitoba residents as well as non-residents are not charged for this service.

The Lifeflight Air Ambulance program provides specialized inter-facility transport for critically ill or injured Manitoba residents who require services further than 200 kilometres from Winnipeg. There is no charge to Manitoba residents.

Does health insurance cover ambulance fees?

Individuals requiring ambulance services, including Manitobans and individuals visiting from other provinces, do have to access third party insurance coverage to pay for ambulance services.

Insurance can provide coverage for ambulance fees and can be affordable, even for those on a fixed income.

Who is covering the costs associated with this fee reduction?

Providers depend on revenue from user fees to fund these services, and the province is providing additional funding to ensure there are no changes to service levels. Providers will be reimbursed the difference between their regular rates and the new rates to be charged to individual Manitobans.

What are the estimated costs to the province for funding this fee reduction?

Final costs will depend on the number of ambulance fees billed to Manitoba.

Will people who have insurance or other coverage be required to cover any difference between the fees billed to individuals and the cost covered by insurance?

No. People with insurance or other coverage will continue to pay their deductible or co-pay in the same way they would have before the fee reduction.

If I have insurance but I have to pay out of pocket and be reimbursed by the insurance company later, do I have to pay more?

No. Any individual who must pay out of pocket will only need to pay the reduced amount, even if they are being reimbursed later. This is so individuals in this situation will not hesitate to call an ambulance if they need one because they are worried about being able to afford the bill, even if they may be reimbursed later on.

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
Emergency Medical Services

Unit #7 - 1680 Ellice Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3H 0Z2
E-mail: emergserv@gov.mb.ca
Phone: 204-945-5300