Tulsa Apartment Residents May Not Be Covered For Ambulance Service
TULSA, Oklahoma - The City of Tulsa is making a new effort to make sure you know you might not be covered for the cost of an ambulance ride.
For homeowners, the extra charge is shown on your water bill, but if you live in an apartment building, there's a good chance the owner has opted out, and you may not know that.
We want to make sure people understand that anyone who calls an ambulance will get one--what we're talking about it is being covered for the cost of the service.
The vast majority of apartment complexes are opting out, leaving their tenants on their own to make the choice about enrolling in the city's ambulance insurance program.
Any time the call for an ambulance comes in to Tulsa's 911 center, EMSA responds, and if there's a trip to the hospital, eventually someone is going to get the bill. That could be a surprise for the thousands of people in apartments, who are mostly being opted out by apartment managers.
For the first time, the city is demanding proof the apartment owners are telling tenants they've opted out.
"And if they don't do it, the apartment owners, they will be fined. It's $1,100 penalty for each tenant," said Dwain Midget, with the City of Tulsa.
The city plans to occasionally check apartment complexes to make sure they've taken steps to notify tenants about their status and their options.
"They have a responsibility to the tenant to tell the tenant, advise them that they as an apartment complex are not taking part in the program, but you have an opportunity to participate in EMSA's total care program, if you choose to do so," Midget said.
The notification is key, because of Tulsa's 1,528 apartment complexes, more than 1,300 have opted out. That's led to problems in the past when people realized they weren't covered.
"One of the more confusing aspects is for people who don't pay directly for their own water bill. That can be apartment complexes, duplexes, anytime you have multi-families in one building and the landlord is paying the bill," said Kelli Bruer, of EMSA.
Anyone can join for $45 dollars a year.
Homeowners pay it out monthly with their utility bill, unless they've opted out, which they can do during the month of June.
"This is the one month of the year, for your City of Tulsa water bill, that you can opt in or out of the program," Bruer said.