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Thread: Air Ambulance Insurance Reimbursement

  1. #1

    Air Ambulance Insurance Reimbursement


    I was wondering if anyone had trouble getting insurance to reimburse an air ambulance. I was transferred from a medical hospital in Fort Collins, CO to a rehab hospital in Chicago, IL for the bargain price of 15K and insurance denied it on the first claim. For my appeal I have a letter from my doctor here in chicago outlining the superior care offered by the rehab hospital and another letter from a psychologist in chicago about the emotional benefits of being close to home (i'm from chicago). Any insight or experiences that you could share would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    I know my helocopter ride from Lake Forest Hospital to Lutheran General in Park Ridge was initially denied, I dont remember if they gave a specific reason or not, but reading my plan summary showed something like that would be covered in an emergency. I called them up and told them that having a broken back and multiple other injuries required a Level 1 trauma center, quickly. They paid. (The only reason I went to Lake Forest was they had a helocopter pad there). I'm not too sure how your policy works, was there any wording that they used to deny the claim? Non-emergency? No coverage? Or ??? Appeal anyway, depending on your carrier they love playing games with denials just to see if something will stick.

  3. #3
    After an initial denial of covering a medical jet ride for my son from PA to GA, I read my policy VERY carefully and found that it said medical transportation by ambulance or air (there was a third mode of transportation given also, but I can't remember it right now) was covered. And it had nothing to do with where we lived, because home is NJ and we wanted him to be at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. So find what you can to help you in your policy. And even if you don't, keep at them. Hopefully you'll prevail. Good luck!


  4. #4
    I was transferred from Maine to Portland for 30k. There was a moment there when we were just going to load me in the back of a VW bus and pull a "Little Miss Sunshine". It took doctor's letters, lobbying by the hospital worker, and not taking no for an answer time and time again for insurance to finally cave.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Aiken, SC USA

    Insurance Payment

    It took more than a year for my insurance company to pay my helicopter ride. The bill was very near $10,000 for an 80 mile flight from crash scene to level one trauma center. Perservance, perserverance, perseverance!
    You C.A.N.
    Conquer Adversity Now

  6. #6
    So far my husband had 6 ambulance rides, 1 helicopter ride from one hospital to another, then 3 weeks later a private medical jet plane from Orange County, Ca to Tucson, Az and believe it or not my insurance paid all, except 100 co pay for each. The heli was 16,900 and the jet was only 12,000.

  7. #7
    I had some trouble as well getting my insurance Blue Cross Blue Shield to pay for my husband's flight from Houston, TX back to Vermont. Initially they denied but the air ambulance company appealed and they paid! Contact the air ambulance company that flew you and see what they can do to help. I used Air Ambulance 1

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Edmonton Alberta
    Quote Originally Posted by wazabiker View Post
    It took more than a year for my insurance company to pay my helicopter ride. The bill was very near $10,000 for an 80 mile flight from crash scene to level one trauma center. Perservance, perserverance, perseverance!
    You got charged for that? Thats insaine..

    Do any of the states have anything like ? I happily donate to them every year.
    C5-6 / '88

  9. #9
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BC Canada
    They probably also charged for the portion of the flight from their base to the crash scene. Unfortunately helicopters are very expensive to operate, rates except for the small piston helicopters usually start at around $1000 a hour and go up, the bigger the helicopter the higher the rate. In the air ambulance situation you also have to factor in the wages of the medical crew as well.

  10. #10
    I was in a similar situation and got BCBS to pay for mine, however I had some leverage. I got a helicopter ride from the dunes where I crashed to a hospital, so they had to cover that. But I was out on the west coast, and wanted them to fly me to Shepherd in Atlanta (closer to home).

    So after I was out of intensive care, I was basically sitting in a hospital room for a few weeks, wasting my time. BCBS said I should do rehab out in CA, I said "screw you I'm going to a good rehab closer to home". They said they wouldn't pay for the flight, so I said I'd just take a commercial jet. Doc's didn't like that one too much pneumothorax and all, so I said I'd just rent a van and have my family drive me 3000 miles across the country. I was just about set to do that, until Shepherd told me they would turn me away if I drove across the country.

    BCBS kept telling me to do rehab in CA, and I kept telling them it wasn't going to happen. I guess finally they got tired of paying thousands of dollars a day for me to sit in the hospital while they argued with me, so they paid for an air ambulance plane ride. Never had a personal jet before (though the situation coulda been better).

    I bet if you bitch and hem and haw enough they will pay for it. They ought to. Not sure how much my situation will help you, since I got insurance approval for it before I took the flight. Anyway, tell the ambulance company you don't have the money and they had better get it out of the insurance company, they've probably got more leverage than you do with the insurance company.

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