MTPR

air ambulance

In an effort to control prices on air ambulance rides in Montana, lawmakers are considering urging Congress to revise the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Federal aviation laws up for review in the U.S. Senate could change the way states regulate air ambulances.

In an effort to control prices on air ambulance rides in Montana, lawmakers are considering urging Congress to revise the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Montana policymakers looking to protect consumers from giant bills for air ambulance service are taking a close look at North Dakota’s attempt. North Dakota’s law was struck down by a federal judge last month.

Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana Legislators are sending a letter to their U.S. congressional delegation urging for changes in federal aviation laws. Montana’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee voted today to send a letter asking Senators Tester and Daines and Congressman Zinke to revise the federal Airline Deregulation Act in order to protect patients from crippling air ambulance bills.

Two bills designed to help protect Montanans from unexpected and exorbitant air ambulance bills get their first hearings at the state legislature Tuesday.
(PD)

Air ambulance and health insurance companies took turns blaming each other Thursday for costly but lifesaving air ambulance flights in Montana. The accusations flew during a legislative committee hearing.

Butte is an old mining town, tucked away in the southwest corner of Montana with a population of about 34,000. Locals enjoy many things you can't find elsewhere — campgrounds a quick drive from downtown and gorgeous mountain ranges nearby. But in Butte, as in much of rural America, advanced medical care is absent.

People in Butte who experience serious trauma or need specialty care rely on air ambulance flights to get them the help they need.

Two bills designed to help protect Montanans from unexpected and exorbitant air ambulance bills get their first hearings at the state legislature Tuesday.
(PD)

Things have really changed when it comes to flying medical services in Montana in the last few years.

Jeff Fee is the CEO of Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. He was used to seeing what he called the John Deere colors of his hospital's medical helicopter flying in and out of Missoula, and then, a couple of years ago, things changed.

Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-2)

In a big, rural state like Montana, medical care is often far away. And because most hospitals here are small, people who experience serious trauma or need specialty care often have to fly to get it. The cost of that service is really expensive, and sometimes it isn't covered by health insurance.

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.

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