1531 – that’s the Senate Bill that the air ambulance industry is talking about recently. It seeks to end surprise billing practices by the medical industry in general. The intent is to rescue the general public from receiving medical bills as a result of availing services from out of coverage providers. When it comes to medical flights, at the present time, companies that are not within the network of insurance companies often end up billing – the amount that is not covered by insurance – to the end customers. The bill will change this by treating all such service providers differently.
How will the Treatment of the Air Ambulance Industry Change?
The concept ‘out of network’ will literally cease to exist. The bill seeks to bring all service providers, including medical flights within insurance networks. In essence, it will treat such companies as in-network even though there is no explicit understanding between the insurer and the air ambulance company. The question that arises therefore is “how will this help?” Well, when a service provider goes in-network what it essentially means is that there is a pre-negotiated price for a particular service. Since it is transparent and agreeable to both parties, the transaction goes on smoothly. So, what remains, at the current time, is arriving at an agreeable service reimbursement rate for air ambulance services.
Setting the Right Costs – That’s Key
Skewing the cost model towards one of the two parties simply will not work. While the air ambulance industry cannot expect to get more that what is due to it, the insurance companies too cannot look to squeeze them out. Efforts are currently on to find out the real cost involved in air ambulance services. This must ultimately result in changing the insurance reimbursement rates that are currently over a decade old. One must note that the bill does not specifically target the air ambulance industry. The effort is primarily to do away with the practice of surprise billing in the medical industry.