The average cost of being ready to deploy at a moment’s notice is $3 million per base per year, which includes the flight nurses, flight medics, EMS pilots, mechanics, crew quarters, fuel and the multi-million dollar aircraft.
Yet, 7 out of 10 of our patients have either Medicare, Medicaid, some other government insurance. Our charges are comparable to average charges by other non-subsidized air medical service providers, and the fundamental problem our industry is facing is that current reimbursement rates by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance fall woefully short of what it actually costs to carry our air medical transports.
To continue to provide access to our lifesaving services for the people and communities that need it the most, we must start by fixing 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. Also, 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.
We balance bill only as a last resort and, even in these cases, 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 closely 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.
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.
In certain states, including Ohio, we’ve developed innovative solutions to help get patients out of the middle of the billing process, including Air Methods Advantage, which is a membership program that ensures covered members will never have to pay out-of-pocket for emergency transports provided by Air Methods. Membership in this innovative program starts at just $40/year. You can find more information HERE.”
Mary Ann did negotiate down her bill. From $38,000 to $13,000 which she put on her credit card. She wanted a monthly payment option but was told it would cost her $7,000 more.
What angers her most she says were the attitudes of the customer service representatives she dealt with.
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