Know If You're Covered In a Medical Emergency


Q: My mom is insured through a Medicare HMO; however, the hospital closest to her home is not in her HMO's network. What do we do if there's an emergency? I don't know if we would instruct the ambulance to go to a different hospital -- is that even possible or advisable? She doesn't want to get hit with a big hospital bill because she isn't covered.
-- Willa M., Rainbow, California

A: Your Medicare HMO must cover emergency care at any hospital, so let the ambulance take her to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible. However, you should call your mom's HMO as soon as you can after she arrives at the hospital. Her HMO may require that she be moved to a hospital within the network as soon as it's safe to do so.
-- Advisor Staff