The Lower Health Care Costs Act has been submitted and industry experts feel that the biggest losers— if the Act goes through – will be the largest air ambulance companies. According to S&P Global, the ones that will be affected most are Air Methods and Global Medical Response. The reason that S&P cites is the fact that both of them rely hugely on out-of-network payments. The two air ambulance companies’ combined revenue for this year is predicted to touch USD 5.2 billion.
Through a two-part series on the subject, we intend to highlight, in detail, the impact that Lower Health Care Costs Act would have on the air ambulance industry.
Regularization of Payments to Air Ambulance Companies
The Lower Health Care Costs Act has sections in it which precludes the air ambulance companies from transferring the responsibility of paying off balance bills to patients. In other words, they would have to accept the payments decided by the insurance companies. Thus far, only those air ambulance companies that are ‘in network’ were compelled to allow insurance companies to guide the payment terms but now even the ones that are ‘out of network’ will have to adhere to this condition.
The Concerns Raised by Air Ambulance Companies
Large air ambulance service providers are of the opinion that insurance payments will be arbitrary and will compel them to accept unfair amounts in exchange for their life-saving efforts. They continue to demand that insurance reimbursement rates be revised. They have brought to light the fact that several medical flight companies have closed down recently, unable to bear the rising costs. The industry has cited the dismal state of rural hospitals, which have been shutting down recently, leaving people in such areas without access to appropriate medical care. However, there are other dimensions to the issue too, which we will discuss in the upcoming edition.