Does insurance cover helicopter transport?
Personal Injury - October 17, 2023
For most private insurance programs, a plane or helicopter transport can be covered if the medical services you need are unavailable from a facility closest to you or you cannot get there fast enough by ground transportation to survive. In the case of Medicare, you can qualify for 80% of approved services once you have satisfied your Part B deductible.
While you may be allowed to take airborne emergency services, one of your first questions is probably, “Does my insurance cover helicopter transport?” Understanding the nuances of healthcare coverage is complicated, and insurance providers aren’t on your side. Instead, contact our Chicago personal injury attorneys for a free consultation to learn about your options.
What is a medical helicopter transport or an air ambulance?
People use an ambulance to get to the ER for most medical emergencies. A faster option in a life-threatening situation is to be transported on a helicopter or plane. You can also request it in non-emergency situations.
Any aircraft with the supplies, medical staff, and equipment to provide monitoring and care can serve as an ambulance. Helicopters are commonly used because they don’t need a runway. For example, they can land on the highway where you were hurt in a car accident.
You can also request an air ambulance in instances where traveling hours in a ground vehicle could risk your life. No matter why you need air transport, be aware of the insurance implications as you decide.
Does air transport require pre-authorization from my insurance company?
In life-threatening situations, like any emergency care, your insurance provider will not likely require pre-authorization for an air ambulance. When your situation is non-emergent, your insurer probably requires that your doctors demonstrate the medical necessity of using a helicopter or plane.
Unfortunately, insurance companies dominate the decision-making process about what care you can receive and expect to be covered. They may even claim their physicians declared your request unnecessary. In times like this, you must have someone on your side who can review your policy and fight back against unfair practices by the insurance provider.
How much does helicopter transport cost?
Forcing the insurance company to pay what they said they would cover is critical because air ambulances are expensive. According to the Health Care Cost Institute, the price of helicopter transport increased 144% over ten years, with an average of nearly $28,000 per trip. For planes, the average was just over $41,000 each time, up 166% in the same period.
The No Surprises Act (NSA) of 2020 was made law to protect healthcare consumers from getting unexpected bills from their insurance providers. The Act prevents air ambulance services from sending balance bills (intended to recoup the amount insurance didn’t cover) afterward. However, each state may have statutes that affect this.
Interpreting how the NSA might work for you takes a strong knowledge of federal and state insurance law, and Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can manage this question for you. Your case requires personal service from our team.
Learn more from our trusted personal injury lawyers
When you have questions about extraordinary expenses on your healthcare claims, you need someone on your side to negotiate the payments you deserve. A robust legal advocate from our law firm can help you appeal denied claims and get the settlement you deserve.
Contact Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates for a free initial case review by calling (800) 985-1819 or using our contact form today.