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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Aug 13, 2018 11:37 am 
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https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11021 ... rvices.pdf
"Air transportation
Medicare may pay for emergency ambulance transportation in an
airplane or helicopter if your health condition requires immediate and
rapid ambulance transportation that ground transportation can’t provide,
and one of these applies:
■ Your pickup location can’t be easily reached by ground transportation.
■ Long distances or other obstacles, like heavy traffic, could stop you
from getting care quickly if you traveled by ground ambulance."


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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Aug 24, 2018 10:03 pm 
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Good article in The Flume on this topic this week. Very convoluted situation. Congress needs to take these corporations out of the Air Carrier category of service. I certainly didnt shop for a ticket!

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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Sep 26, 2018 9:33 am 
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This is an excellent investigation into this unregulated service.

Will Congress Bring Sky-High Air Ambulance Bills Down To Earth?

Image

Air ambulance rides can be lifesavers. But how much should they cost?

In the ongoing, crowdsourced "Bill of the Month" investigation, NPR and Kaiser Health News have received more than a dozen bills from people around the country on the hook for medevac helicopter rides that ranged from $28,000 to $97,000.

What gives? Why should a lifesaving flight come with a life-altering bill?

If an air ambulance service isn't part of a patient's insurance network, the operator can charge patients for the portion of the bill the insurance company won't cover. That leaves a patient on the hook for the undiscounted rate the air carrier decides to charge.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-sho ... paign=news

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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Sep 26, 2018 4:02 pm 
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aspenleaf wrote:
chef-gal, what town do you live in?


(Nevermind...she informed me she sent you a PM)

We're fortunate in that, aside from the airlift coverage chef-gal has for the both of us, I'm also eligible for VA care and wouldn't have to pay for a ride, either. My federal tax dollars are finally going to support a cause I approve of...ME!

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Last edited by Bailey Guns on Sep 27, 2018 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Sep 26, 2018 4:10 pm 
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RE: the cost of a chopper ride, yeah, they're expensive. I have no idea how medical airlift companies compute the cost of a ride but I do know helicopters and trained staff to fly and crew them are VERY expensive.

A typical helicopter used in medical airlift could cost several million dollars just for the aircraft. By the time you add a crew and the specialized life-saving equipment it adds up to a lot of $$$. Then you have to figure in maintenance and insurance. Helicopters are outrageously expensive to maintain and insure.

So I'd need some pretty hard evidence that these companies are really ripping off the public before I'd ever want the government to get involved. Do that and you're just asking for trouble.

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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Oct 4, 2018 9:29 am 
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The use of Helicopters in our area is decided by the Firemen based on the severity of the incident. The helicopters can get a pt to the hospital much faster than ground transportation via Ambulance. So it is all based on the call and what is best for the patient. I believe a life is more important than money.


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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Oct 4, 2018 10:07 am 
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I'm new to this thread, but I'm a *bit* perplexed on the governments role in this issue. Growing up in AK, the state was the one that sent flight for life most of the time, because nearly the entire state is completely in accessible to cars. There was also a network of private bush pilots who helped as well. This was eons ago, so it has certainly changed. But the state bankrolled rescues for sure. I know - we had to use it when I was a kid when I went into diabetic shock. We lived in the middle of nowhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Medical helicopters "air ambulance"- can you afford the
Post Posted: Oct 4, 2018 10:50 am 
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The government deregulated airlines (technically air carriers) many years ago so they are now free to charge whatever the market will bear. Unfortunately, medical helicopter services actually fall into this category right now. Congress can remove them from this category of service and then institute oversight and cost controls if they choose. It's a balance between a free market economy, one of the principles of our nation, and public service to those in need. A judgement call I'm glad I don't have to make, especially since the patient, as has been pointed out, isn't always the one making the decision to call for a flight.

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