In recent times, we have seen that many a patients have been denied full air ambulance insurance coverage. The reason is use of medical flights that are not ‘in-network’. Come to think of it, the ‘in network’ problem is not haunting the air ambulance industry alone but healthcare in general. Even during emergencies, the patients are expected to go to hospitals that are in the network of the health insurance providers and this leaves one wondering why the network is so porous. The health care professionals too are expected to be within the network to get adequate coverage, even if the medical service is provided in a hospital that is within the network of the insurance provider.
Is Billing Regulation of Air Ambulance Services the Answer?
Billing regulation is something that insurance providers have been putting forth for quite some time. This will allow health insurance providers to compel the air ambulance industry to conform themselves to standardized rates. The problem, however, is that that air ambulance and insurance industries have never agreed on a fair amount. While the insurance industry feels that the charges of air ambulance providers are too steep, the air ambulance industry argues that the standard rates set by insurance industry is unreasonably low.
The Sufferers are Common People
Balance billing is a problem that is simply refusing to go away. What should ideally be a bone of contention between the two industries is spilling over to the patients. With the cost of air ambulance services rising and no solution in picture, it would not be surprising if we read more about people going bankrupt owing to balance bills that run into tens of thousands of dollars.
The insurance companies are advocating putting a cap on all charges including charges of physicians. Come to think of it, it kills the incentive to offer better care to people in general and seems a rather arbitrary suggestion where the state decides the prices.