Understanding the new air ambulance bill necessitates knowing the intent behind it. In a recent press release, senator McCaskill said, ““Air ambulances, while they provide a lifesaving service, are currently operating in a grey area between healthcare and aviation and have managed to not be held accountable by anyone—and it’s time for that to change.” This thought has formed the premise of the new bill, which is seeing great opposition by the Air ambulance industry currently. Let’s begin by understanding what the bill will change.
What will McCaskill Air Ambulance Bill Do?
The bill seeks to clarify that it is in the purview of the states to look into the affairs of air ambulance services and clear the smoke of confusion that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 brings into picture.
The bill will also make air ambulance consumer complaint hotline a reality. Although medical flight service is big business with huge monetary stakes that most often directly involve the patients, there is no hotline currently to address their grievances.
It will create an advisory committee that will give recommendations to bring transparency when it comes to air ambulance billing. Further, it will lay down clear guidelines for insurance companies and bring consumer protection into picture.
What Inspired the Air Ambulance Bill?
It was the recent news reports about families reeling under the heavy burden of air ambulance bills that caught senator McCaskill’s attention. There were also allegations that some of the air ambulance providers were indulging in deceptive practices. She opined that it is unfair to expect the patients or their loved ones to sort out which of the air ambulance services are in-network and which are not, during critical times. The bill will separate the air ambulance costs into those related to transportation and those related to healthcare, bringing greater transparency into the costs.