As rural hospitals continue to close at an alarming rate, more and more residents in the heartland are coming to rely on air ambulances. Being airlifted to a hospital can mean the difference between life and death. But being flown to the hospital can come with a hefty price tag as well, reports The Rural Blog.
Air ambulances have become the centerpiece of a nationwide dispute over a practice known as balance billing. That’s when medical institutions require unsuspecting families to pay a large portion of the bill. It works like this: You have health coverage, incur a medical bill, and assume the service is covered. But it turns out the bill isn’t covered because the provider isn’t in your insurer’s network. You’re on the hook for the entire amount.
In Ohio, for example, a lien was placed on a man’s home because he owed $22,000 to an air ambulance company. The man was forced to file for bankruptcy.