02/27/2014 12:04 EST | Updated 04/29/2014 05:59 EDT

New Brunswick to eliminate $130 ambulance fee for people without coverage

FREDERICTON - The ambulance fee for people in New Brunswick without private health insurance coverage will be eliminated starting April 1.

Health Minister Hugh Flemming says a majority of New Brunswickers have health insurance that already covers the $130 fee, while people with low incomes are covered through social assistance.

Flemming says the change will cost the province about $600,000 a year.

He says the measure keeps a campaign promise made by the Progressive Conservative government.

But Liberal health critic Don Arseneault questions the timing of Flemming's announcement, just months before the Sept. 22 election.

Arseneault says he worries that private health plans will now drop coverage for ambulance fees, but Flemming says he doesn't expect that to happen.