Stop Paying Twice for Avon Lake EMS
Let me open this letter by stating clearly that I am not opposed to a fully funded EMS. I do oppose the huge 60 percent EMS levy increase because it is at best a misleading proposition and much more than is needed. Here’s what you are not being told.
Did you know that your health insurance premiums might be used to fund city expenses like mowing lawns and pruning trees? How do you feel about the city collecting twice for
In 2011 the City of Avon Lake billed insurance companies $391,000 for EMS ambulance services. These reimbursements were paid for by the insurance premiums of those who were transported by EMS. Not a penny of those reimbursements is meant to reimburse EMS. The practice is called ‘soft billing’ and it is a ‘double-dipping’ arrangement that enables the city to get paid twice for providing EMS ambulance services.
Here’s how it works. First, taxpayers are assessed a levy to fully pay for all services of EMS without consideration for insurance reimbursements. When a service is provided and the individual has insurance, the city soft bills an insurance company a fee for that service. However, since the cost of that service is already paid for from the EMS tax levy fund, the city collects those reimbursements to pay for general expenses.
For those whose insurance companies were billed it gets better. Those folks, who also pay that EMS tax, also pay insurance premiums to have coverage and benefits for healthcare expenses. However, in Avon Lake their health benefits will benefit the city general fund, not for funding EMS safety and health services.
Many communities apply the insurance reimbursements to supplement the expense of their EMS operation. This is the way it should be done and this is why Avon Lake voters should reject Issue 3 and demand a fair and reasonable proposal be put on the ballot in November. EMS can be more than fully funded with $1.63 million by a modest 1.5 mil replacement levy $1.24 million, and earmarking ‘soft billing’ revenue, $390,000 to be applied to the fire and safety budget.
As a 16-year Avon Laker, and a senior, like many others, I want my EMS tax levy and my insurance benefits paid to keep EMS fully funded. I object to a ‘double-dipping’ scheme that diverts insurance benefits of taxpayers to cover city budget deficits. Avon Lake citizens must demand better than this from your elected officials. Let’s stop all the irrelevant talk of loss of services. Let’s approach this honestly based on facts and fair and full disclosure. Vote ‘NO’ on Issue 3 on Aug. 7 and get a fair and reasonable proposal on the November ballot.
Michael D Hellyar Sr.