Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana has reached a network agreement with Life Flight Network. This agreement will provide residents of southern Montana with critical air ambulance service. The insurance provider provides coverage to almost 300,000 Montana residents. They also have network contracts with several hospital-based air ambulance providers.
Agreement Resulting from New Legislation
This agreement between the two parties came about after the passing of a new legislation by the Montana Legislature. According to the bill, insurance provides will have to negotiate ambulance bill settlements with air ambulance providers. If necessary, they may even have to negotiate on a case-by-case basis. Patients will only be responsible for deductibles and copays.
The Montana State Legislature passed the bill after hearing the testimonies of several patients who had been hit with sky high air ambulance bills. These patients were charged tens of thousands of dollars for getting transported by air ambulance helicopters.
Lower Air Ambulance Service Fees for Patients
According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Chief Medical Officer Monica Berner, the new agreement will reduce the chances of their members getting hit with massive air ambulance bills. Before the passing of the bill, patients were stuck with sky high bills. While insurers claimed that air ambulance service providers were unwilling to make negotiations, air ambulance providers claimed that insurers were low-balling them.
And the state governments were helpless as the federal Airline Deregulation Act prevents them from regulating the prices, routes, and services of air ambulance providers. With the new legislation in Montana, other insurers and air ambulance providers are also negotiating network agreements. Pacific Source Health Plan, which previously had a network agreement with Life Flight, has made arrangements with REACH Air Medical Service in early June.