Imagine a situation where a family has multiple health conditions and emergency air medical transport is a necessity. You opt for one and receive adequate treatment just in time, and things seem to settle down. A few days later, you receive a huge bill that amounts to over USD 50,000. You are taken aback but feel fortunate that you are covered by the health insurance but more shocks await you. The insurance company only approves a fraction of the bill and states that the air medical transport service that ferried the patient is out of the insurance network coverage. You are expected to foot the rest of the bill yourself.
Air Medical Transport Dilemma is Highly Prevalent in the United States
There have been several cases like the one above in the United States, and it has been going on for far too long. Even the President of the country has expressed his desire to do away with this practice, widely known as ‘surprise billing’. The problem here is two-fold.
The first part of the problem is that most air medical transport companies simply refuse to come under private insurance networks. This leaves the subscribers of such insurance vulnerable to surprise bills. Moreover, the potential costs are never discussed with the ones who avail these services. In other words, the ability to make an informed choice simply does not exist.
The other part of problem is the insurance industry itself, which has, for quite a few years, simply not revised its reimbursement rates.
The Air Ambulance Industry Cites Increasing Costs
The air medical transport industry players are mostly for-profit, and it is unrealistic to expect them to forgo profits. That said, it cannot be at the cost of inconveniencing the public in general. There needs to be a cost mechanism where both the insurance and air ambulance industries find common grounds and sort the cost issue between them.