Bills Addressing High Cost of Air Ambulance Passed by State Legislature
NOVI, MICHIGAN, December 6, 2018: The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM), a statewide collaboration of business and labor organizations, is pleased to announce that the Michigan Legislature passed a set of bills (House Bills 5217-5219) addressing the high cost of air ambulance services within the state.
“This is a win for the residents of Michigan. Air ambulance bills can range from a few thousand dollars to six figure amounts,” stated Bret Jackson, President, EAM. “Patients must be protected from this type of financial harm.”
The bills are designed to encourage hospitals to participate with air ambulance services who contract with various insurance companies, providing what is called in-network coverage. This participation lessens the occurrence of a patient having to use a service who is not a participate, otherwise known as out-of-network. Many patients assume that since his or her hospital is an in-network facility that the air ambulance service at the hospital is as well. At times this is not the case and the result of using an out-of-network service can result in a medical bill the patient did not expect and cannot afford.
The bill package will:
- Require hospitals to prioritize ground transport, unless air transport is deemed medically necessary.
- Require hospitals to prioritize nonemergency patient air transportation using in-network providers before using out-of-network services.
- Require air ambulance companies and hospitals to disclose network status and estimated cost of air ambulance transport prior to ordering the service for nonemergency patients.
- Require air ambulance providers to accept the amount covered by an emergency patient’s insurance as payment in-full.
- Require hospitals to allow a patient’s in-network air ambulance to land at their facility.
- Hold hospitals responsible for a patient’s excess charges should they fail to comply with the above requirements.
“On behalf of the EAM and our members, we thank the state’s lawmakers and the bill sponsors for passing this revolutionary bill package,” said Jackson. “Michigan residents will be protected at a very vulnerable moment during a life-threatening emergency.”
The bills are sponsored by Rep. Bellino (R-Monroe), Rep. Barrett (R-Charlotte), and Rep. LaFave (R-Iron Mountain). The bill package passed 33-4 in the State Senate and 102-7 in the State House of Representatives, giving it broad bi-partisan support. For more details on the state’s bill package go to www.legislature.mi.gov.