Ambulance service fees for Big Bear Valley were adjusted last night, given a vote by the Big Bear City Community Services District Board, which oversees the Big Bear City Fire Department—though this “adjustment” will result in a reduction in costs, effective 30 days from the July 6 adoption. As, per the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Authority, the consumer price index for transportation has declined 10%, each of nine ambulance rate components (based on rural/wilderness operating areas, which includes our community) is being reduced by 3.87%. Though CSD Directors were unanimous in their adoption of the reduced rate, Director Barbara Beck questioned whether this would affect the budget of the Big Bear City Fire Department. Fire Chief Jeff Willis replied, “It will be a pretty minor adjustment; we’ll hardly even notice the difference.” Patrons of ambulance service may notice the difference, however, as a door-to-door trip from home to hospital will now cost about $40 less when, come August 5, the general rate will go from $1058 to $1017. The Big Bear City Fire Department does offer a more affordable option for those in need of emergency ambulance transport through the LifeCare program, which is like ambulance insurance. For an annual fee of $59, LifeCare covers emergency ambulance transport for every household member. Open enrollment for LifeCare takes place each August, though signups are taken throughout the year by the Bear City Fire Department, which can be reached at 585-2362.
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