It was only in 2017 that North Dakota had enforced a law that sought to regulate the steep fees charged by some of the air ambulance companies. Just as the consumers were breathing a sigh of relief, Guardian Flight has challenged the regulation. Relying on the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 which prohibits state interference in the affairs of Air Ambulance Companies, the company has gone to the court once again.
The Law does not Regulate Air Ambulance Companies says North Dakota
The state of North Dakota has its own point of view and says it has not breached the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. The argument is that the law concerns insurance companies and not air ambulance companies. The law necessitated air ambulance companies to be listed in a ‘primary carrier list’. The precondition to be a part of the list was that the air ambulance companies had to be a part of Blue Cross Blue Shield as participating providers. The participation would essentially compel air ambulance companies to consider the insurance reimbursement to be the full and final settlement, doing away with balance billings.
The Backdrop of the Law Passed by North Dakota
There had been a myriad of complaints against air ambulance companies citing excessive billing for their life-saving services. Several families were forced to file bankruptcy. The court had evaluated a compilation of 36 bills that had totalled a whopping $2.1 million. Worse was the fact that, of this amount, consumers were liable for $1.6 million.
While there is no telling which of the party is right, it must be noted, in defense of air ambulance companies, that most of them offer memberships at nominal fees. It is always wise to find out which air ambulance companies provide their services in your area and then opt for their membership, at least until the dispute is permanently settled.