In the backdrop of the fact that the Senate is looking at passing the bill that will modify the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, the air ambulance industry (especially the large for-profit companies) is worried. The reason behind the worry is the possibility of losing control over billing. Currently, no state actors can interfere in the billing practice of air ambulance companies. However, if the new act, known as the Lower Health Care Cost Act, becomes law, this might change forever. The industry is worried that they will be compelled by the insurance companies to conform to fixed payments. Previously, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 was expected to bring about this change.
FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and Air Ambulance Industry
It was previously expected that the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 will bring about the changes desired by the insurance industry. However, it failed to do so. Instead of changing the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, it merely suggested setting up of an advisory committee. The Department of Transportation was supposed to appoint this committee. In fact, DoT called for applications and nominations for membership as far back as January of this year. However, the committee is yet to be formed.
The Air Ambulance Industry Now is Pushing for Formation of the Committee
Many in the air ambulance industry feel that they have not got a fair hearing. In this context, they are pushing for the committee as suggested by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. On the other hand, some stakeholders believe that the push for the committee is just an effort to delay the passing of Lower Health Care Cost Act. The hope of the air ambulance companies is that Congress drops the section which will limit reimbursements to a benchmark rate. For now, it is a wait and watch for all stakeholders.