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Governor Signs Assemblymember Boerner’s Bill Ending Surprise Billing for Ambulance Services

For immediate release:
Boerner Masthead


Contact: Rob Charles | 916-319-3362 |

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 9, 2023

Governor Signs Assemblymember Boerner’s Bill
Ending Surprise Billing for Ambulance Services

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Newsom signed AB 716, a bill by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner (D – Encinitas) which will end “surprise” billing for ground ambulance services in California.

“The last thing anyone should be thinking about when they call 911 is whether they can afford the ambulance ride,” said Assemblymember Boerner. “With the Governor’s approval, AB 716 prevents consumers from being hit with those surprise bills for ground ambulance service, protect the uninsured, and help ensure that the costs are better covered for the heroic work of our firefighters and paramedics.”

A surprise bill happens when a person does the right thing by seeking in-network care but is unknowingly seen by an out-of-network provider for a service. In the case of ambulances, consumers have no choice whether the ambulance that arrives is contracted with their health plan, often resulting in a surprise bill because the consumer ends up having to make up the difference between what their health plan will pay and what the ambulance provider is charging.

AB 716 ends this practice by holding the consumer responsible only for the in-network cost-sharing amount (e.g. their co-pay) required by their health plan, and uninsured Californians can only be charged the Medi-Cal or Medicare rate for the service, whichever is greater.  It also ensures ambulance providers have their costs better covered by requiring that, absent a contract between the provider and the insurer, health plans will pay the ambulance providers at rates negotiated and set locally through city or regional governments (also known as the Local Emergency Medical Authority or LEMSA rate).

"With Governor Newsom’s signature of AB 716, Californians are finally protected from the trauma of being hit with a large ambulance bill after already facing the trauma of an emergency," said Katie Van Deynze, policy and legislative advocate with Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition which sponsored the bill. "We’ve heard from Californians across the state who have been hit with these unexpected bills when a family member needed an ambulance. People think it’s a mistake because they have insurance, only to find out that California law allows these large bills to be charged to consumers, and they have to figure out how to pay it. Some consumers may decide to not call an ambulance in the next emergency. This new law will provide direct benefits to millions of Californians, giving them the peace of mind to know that they can call 911 in an emergency without the threat of a huge surprise bill."   

AB 716 will take effect on January 1st, 2024.


Assemblymember Tasha Boerner represents the 77th District, which encompasses Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and the coastal communities of La Jolla south to Downtown and Coronado. You can learn more about Assemblymember Boerner at, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.