Lawmakers in both chambers of the Congress are in the process of passing a bill that would increase Medicare payment rates. If passed, the bill would increase the Medicare pay rate for air ambulance companies by 20 percent and this increase would come into effect in 1st of January next year. There would be a further increase in pay rate from Medicare for the air ambulance companies, which would be spread between 2017 through 2019; the increase would be an additional 5 percent.
What Does this Mean for Air Ambulance Companies?
Association of Air Medical Services, which is a lobbying entity for air ambulance companies in the United States, has been constantly pushing the congress for passage of this bill.
Here’s what the largest of the air ambulance companies in the country – Air Methods – had to say about the payment raise. The CEO of the company Aaron Todd said that the 20% increase will definitely affect the bottom line positively and Air Methods, which is currently enjoying 1 billion in revenue will see even better margins. It was revealed that about 36 percent of Air Methods’ revenue comes from Medicare patients compared to 26 percent which comes from reimbursements from private players.
The beneficiaries would not just be the air ambulance companies, many hospitals that run air ambulance services too will benefit from the passage of this bill.
Air Ambulance Companies apart, What Does it Mean for Consumers?
At present, the criteria for reimbursement is pretty strict and patients are, sometimes, required to pay out of pocket. This out of pocket expense, if any, would definitely come down. The bill would also bring into effect a data reporting system for all air ambulance companies that offer emergency transportation. So, the sector would definitely be more organized in the days to come if the bill sees the light of the day.