Here’s what Superior Ambulance said about massive surprise bills hitting Metro Detroiters

We’ve heard from hundreds of people in Metro Detroit dealing with massive, surprise ambulance bills -- so we went straight to the company to get some answers.

Help Me Hank talked with Superior Ambulance about why these surprise bills happen and what people can do to challenge them. Watch the full interview with Hank in the video player above.

Superior also launched a new hotline for billing issues: 248-489-5115. You can also email

From Hank Winchester: I remember reading the first email about this issue. It was a local family battling an ambulance bill from Superior for more than $8,000. When I read it the first time I thought maybe they meant $800.

I called out of curiosity and could hear the concern in this mom’s voice. Their daughter was having some minor breathing issues. They went to a local hospital but it was suggested they get a transfer to a hospital that could admit her.

They traveled about 15 miles, no sirens, no emergency. They were released shortly after arriving at the hospital. It was a mild case of RSV. They received the bill and were stunned. They assumed it was a mistake. It wasn’t. They battle for almost a year but Superior and the hospital denied all their requests to review the bill. They kept holding out hope and eventually it went to a collection agency. It was going to affect their credit.

We got involved and made a few calls. I was absolutely stunned when the bill suddenly went to $0. How in the world did that happen? While I was so happy we could help it actually left me with more questions.

We aired the story and the next morning I had dozens of emails from viewers who were in the same situation. By the end of the week we had hundreds of emails. It was stunning. I could not believe how many people were having this problem.

I spent the days after sharing more of your stories and keeping Superior in the loop. Eventually Superior agreed to an on-camera interview here on their Detroit office on 8 Mile. I appreciated the time they took to explain the issue and it’s a very complicated issue.

This involved Superior, insurance companies and the hospitals but at the end of the days the person affected is you. I have done so may Superior stories within the last month and the great news is a new hotline and email address has been set up as a result of this story so Superior can better communicate with those of you that have questions or issues with your bill.

I still keep thinking about that first email and that first family. What is we had not gotten involved. $8,000 is a lot of money and you could feel just how stressful this situation had been for them.

I urge you to reach out if you’re still having problems. Superior had committed to helping you and I’ll still be here as well to listen.

Getting a surprise ambulance bill after dealing with a medical emergency can be a very stressful experience.

Many people find themselves in this situation after the medical emergency, not knowing that a private ambulance outside their insurance coverage network would be transporting them. And then, months later, they’re hit with a surprise bill, sometimes asking for thousands of dollars.

Each one of these situations is different, which makes it hard to offer specific advice to people appealing the bill with their insurance companies or local hospitals. But we talked with local attorney Todd Flood of Flood Law about where you should start and why this is happening.

Here are some takeaways from our interview -- which you can watch in the video player below:

Why does this happen?

  • Cities have to offer services and many contract third-party ambulance services to help fill the gap or to save money
  • The federal “No Surprise Bills” act of 2020 did not include out-of-network ambulance services

What should you be asking before getting into an ambulance

  • Try to make sure the private ambulance service is covered in your insurance -- and have that information readily available in case of emergency
  • Hospitals should be able to help you figure out which ambulance provider is in network

What should you do if you get a bill like this?

  • Contact the provider and negotiate the bill
  • Ask your insurance to review the claim again
  • Contact a local attorney to take on your case

In some cases, you can also file a complaint with your state government if you feel your insurer’s response to the issue is wrong. Here’s the form directory for Michigan.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.