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Montana Insurance Commissioner: Be Careful When Buying Air Ambulance Coverage

Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-2)

Montana’s Insurance Commissioner is warning people to be careful when buying policies that cover air ambulance services.

Many Montana hospitals have air ambulance services that are covered by health insurance. When they don’t, and a patient needs it, a private air ambulance company gets involved. Deputy State Auditor Andrew Posewitz says that can be expensive if the company is out of the patient’s network.

“The air ambulance bills the patient for the balance of it and in one case that bill was over $55,000.”

Some of these companies are starting to create membership programs, to cover costs insurance companies won’t.

There’s a problem with that, Posewtiz says.

“That patient is often in a condition when they need an air ambulance that they can’t tell anybody they're an air ambulance member and they may get picked up by a totally different company, in which that cost wouldn’t be covered at all even though they thought they bought the membership.”

An interim state Legislative committee is in the early stages of investigating air ambulance providers.

Corin Cates-Carney is the news director at Montana Public Radio. He joined MTPR in 2015 and is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
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