- Try negotiating with the air ambulance service provider. We found numerous cases where patients successfully negotiated their bill down.
- Consult with an attorney who has both aviation and insurance experience.
- File a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General. Chances are they've received other complaints too.
It's also a good idea to be pro-active and talk to your insurance provider before you or a loved one might need this service. Some may offer supplemental insurance that would cover the cost of air ambulance service.
“Our mission is first and foremost to preserve emergency air medical service for all communities around the country to communities and people whose lives depend on it. We’re ready to deploy 24/7/365, and the crew only responds when called upon by a first responder or physician. And we truly believe that everyone deserves access to lifesaving care regardless of their ability to pay.
We’re an airborne ICU with a focus on quality of care and safety in aviation that exceed industry-wide standards. While we seek every efficiency and innovation to keep costs down – being ready to deploy our advanced fleet and highly trained clinicians and pilots at a moment’s notice requires substantial investment and high fixed costs. In fact, the average cost to operate one base is $3 million per year.
Our charges are comparable to average charges by other non-hospital affiliated air medical service providers. The fundamental problem is that current reimbursement rates by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance fall woefully short of what it actually costs for us to carry our air medical transports. Roughly 70% of our transports are patients who have either Medicare, Medicaid, some other government insurance coverage, or are uninsured; we are under-reimbursed on 7 out of 10 transports. At the same time, while most private insurers pay at or near our billed charges, there are some private insurers who are setting rates that are far below our true costs.
We balance bill only as a last resort, and even then, we work with patients one-on-one to recover what they deserve from their insurance company and to determine what they can reasonably pay. After the emergency is over, our team of patient advocates work with our patients to help them navigate the complex and often frustrating process of seeking fair reimbursement from insurance companies. In addition, we have a long-established charity care program in place to support patients who need further financial assistance.
We believe there are two important solutions that would reduce the financial burden on patients, while preserving access to air medical services across the country. First and foremost, we must fix the drastically low reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid services. We strongly support the proposed federal legislation that would resolve the Medicare reimbursement shortfall by updating reimbursement rates.
Second, insurance companies must be willing to reimburse for emergency air medical services. Unfortunately, some highly-profitable insurance companies play a major role by placing the financial burden on patients through increasing insurance premiums and reductions of coverage.
As a responsible provider, we are working toward long-term and meaningful solutions and we continue to try to build collaborative partnerships with insurers who share our goal of putting the patient first and recognize the value of our lifesaving services.”
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