Department of Transportation Hosts the Inaugural Meeting of Committee to Advise on Air Ambulance Billing Issues

On January 15th and 16th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation held the inaugural Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee meeting. Established by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the Committee is tasked with reviewing “options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services, and protect consumers from balance billing.” CHIR’s Maanasa Kona discusses some of the key takeaways from the meeting. Continue reading

Protecting Patients from Air Ambulance Surprise Balance Bills – Where Are We Now?

A recently released report by the Health Care Cost Institute finds that the average price of an air ambulance trip has increased significantly from 2008 to 2017, a Department of Transportation advisory commission is studying the industry’s billing practices, and legislation is pending in Congress to protect patients from surprise bills sent by air ambulance companies. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona and Sabrina Corlette provide an update on the recent activity. Continue reading

Will it Fly? Wyoming Attempts End Run Around High Air Ambulance Prices

Air ambulance charges are a significant source of surprise out-of-network bills for many patients, with charges running into 5 figures. States have been frustrated in their efforts to protect consumers in this context due to a federal law preempting regulation of air carrier prices, including air ambulances. However, the state of Wyoming may have hit on a unique solution – effectively making air ambulance a public utility. Will it work? CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette takes a look. Continue reading

The FAA Reauthorization Bill – An Unexpected Vehicle for Relief from Surprise Medical Bills?

More often than not, air ambulance services are called in to serve people in severe physical distress who do not have the capacity at the time to provide consent. Yet many are later hit with huge surprise out-of-network charges for the flight. State departments of insurance and state legislators across the nation have taken notice of this issue and sought to protect consumers, but a federal law that has nothing to do with health care prevents them from regulating air ambulance providers. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona explains two potential federal remedies. Continue reading