Are You Facing An Exorbitant Medical Air Lift Bill?
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
If you have experienced the horror of being in an accident so severe that you had to be air lifted to a trauma center with the equipment and medical experts on staff save your life, the only thing on your mind is the desire to live, if you’re even conscious at all. People who are air lifted to trauma centers are injured so severely that they are barely clinging to life, and the last thing they’re thinking about following a near-fatal accident is “How much is this going to cost me?”
The Harsh Reality of Medical Bills
When you or your loved one recovers from a catastrophic accident and life begins to return to normal, you’ll likely be faced with exorbitant medical bills from the company that air lifted you to a trauma center. Many of these bills, however, are neither accurate nor fair indicators of what transporting you from the accident scene to the hospital actually cost. For many reasons, these companies have been getting away with over-charging individuals for years. If you have received an extremely high medical bill following a medical helicopter transport, you may need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you fight the company that sent you the outrageous bill.
While we understand it’s very expensive to medically transport an injured person from the scene of an accident to a trauma center, we also know the bill should not be in the $40,000 to $60,000 range. Most insurance companies will only pay a fraction of a bill that high, and even more disturbing is the fact that many air lift companies choose not to be in-network, which means that no amount of the bill will be covered by the victim’s health insurance. If the company is in network, they may refuse to bill your health insurance, instead billing you, the patient, for the full amount.
If an insurance company is billed and does pay a portion of the total cost, you may be left with the balance due. Many medical helicopter companies will hire aggressive bill collectors to harass you into paying, and the med flight companies may even hire attorneys to file lawsuits when the bills are not paid. These huge medical bills leave many people with only one option: to file bankruptcy. Most bankruptcies filed in the United States come about because of exorbitant medical bills.
What to do if Faced with a Medical Flight Bill
There are no regulations that control the cost of medical helicopters at this time. Lobbyists have prevented any legislation from passing in state houses or Congress that would prevent these excessive charges. Medical flight companies are treated like airlines under the Airline Deregulation Act and are allowed to charge whatever they want. American courts are siding with medical flight companies saying there is no limit to what they can charge, and there are no court decisions restricting how much health insurance companies and patients have to pay. Until that changes, you have to protect yourself from these exorbitant bills by:
- Understand your health insurance policy and make sure the service is covered and that the med flight company was in network. Then, keep in touch with your health insurance company to ensure it pays its required share of the bill.
- Negotiate with the company when there is an outstanding balance by explaining your financial situation, listing other medical bills you’re responsible for, and offering to pay a small amount each month.
- If the company is not willing to work with you, file a complaint with a state agency and take part in dispute resolution to minimize how much you have to pay.
Contact a personal injury attorney who handles these complex cases.