- 1. What type of patients’ require an air ambulance?
- 2. Is Air Ambulance service covered by Medicare or other insurance plans?
- 3. Can AeroCare assist me in determining whether my insurance will cover the charges?
- 4. If I must pay out of pocket, how much might the service cost?
- 5. What questions can I ask to determine if an Air Ambulance company is qualified?
- 6. Does AeroCare provide international evacuation service?
- 7. Why is it better to deal with an Air Ambulance provider and not a broker?
- 8. What is “bedside to bedside” service and why is it important?
- 9. May a family member come with the patient?
- 10. What arrangements does AeroCare make for the flight?
- 11. What assurances are there that the aircraft is safe?
What type of patients’ require an air ambulance?
Patients that need to be transported distances over 200 miles and require medical attention and/or are unable to tolerate sitting upright in an airliner. AeroCare typically transports patients injured while on vacation needing to be flown home, patients with serious medical conditions needing transportation to a distant medical center that has capabilities unavailable locally, chronically ill patients who want to relocate closer to family members, and patients who are travelling outside the US and become ill or injured requiring evacuation back to the states.
Is Air Ambulance service covered by Medicare or other insurance plans?
Many insurance plans, HMO’s, PPO’s and IPO’s cover air ambulance services. It is important to check your plan to see that there is an air ambulance benefit and what the criteria is. Most plans require that medical necessity is met. This means that a physician must certify that the transportation by air ambulance is indicated and that transportation by other means may endanger the patient. Some plans require that the transport is a life threatening emergency or that the destination is the closest appropriate facility. In addition, be sure to check if there is a maximum benefit and what the benefit level is ( for example a 80% benefit level means the family must pay 20% of the charges ).
Can AeroCare assist me in determining whether my insurance will cover the charges?
Yes. Our Reimbursement Specialists will liaise with your insurance company on your behalf and attempt to obtain pre-authorization, whenever necessary. In these instances, AeroCare will be responsible for submitting all claim forms, letters of medical necessity and other pertinent documentation. If AeroCare is able to obtain an authorization from your insurance company we will not require payment at the time of service.
If I must pay out of pocket, how much might the service cost?
Many factors determine the final cost of an air ambulance transport. The primary factors being the distance flown, the type of aircraft utilized, and the medical needs of the patient in flight. A Domestic transport of modest distance in a twin engine aircraft could cost less than $10,000. On the other hand, the cost of a cross country transport of a very critically ill patient in a long range jet would increase commensurately. Fortunately, as a direct provider of Air Ambulance Services, AeroCare can minimize these costs! Through efficient scheduling and special one-way pricing arrangements many clients can see final costs on the lower end of the ranges.
What questions can I ask to determine if an Air Ambulance company is qualified?
This is a very good question because all providers do not offer the same level of quality. The cheapest company is often not the best choice. A “yes” is an important response to the following:
- 1. Does the company have a Medical Director?
- 2. Is the company’s aircraft licensed by the FAA?
- 3. Is the company licensed in their state as an air ambulance?
- 4. Does the company have liability and malpractice insurance?
- 5. Is the company an actual provider and not a broker?
- 6. Does the company staff each flight with a nurse and a paramedic?
- 7. Is the aircraft pressurized?
- 8. Are the medical crew members trained in altitude physiology?
- 9. Is the Medical Director involved with each flight?
- 10. Does the company provide “bedside to bedside” service?
Does AeroCare provide international evacuation service?
Yes. AeroCare has extensive experience in international evacuations around the world. We can arrange for our medical team to transport the patient on a long-range aircraft or as a more cost effective solution, arrange for a stretcher to be placed on a commercial aircraft. Commercial medical escorts can be less than half the cost of a private jet. AeroCare has evacuated patients from Singapore, Guam, Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America and many other countries throughout the world.
Why is it better to deal with an Air Ambulance provider and not a broker?
A broker normally does not own aircraft, equipment, or employ medical teams or pilots. They advertise as an air ambulance service and when they receive an inquiry they call multiple providers and then “broker” the flight to the cheapest provider. They then add a profit for themselves included in your quote. The problem is that the cheapest provider may not offer the highest level of quality nor have the capabilities required by the patient. The advantage of dealing direct with an Air Ambulance provider is that these companies can directly control the quality of their service since they employ the pilots and medical crews, own the aircraft and equipment, and directly oversee operations.
What is “bedside to bedside” service and why is it important?
Bedside to bedside service means that the medical crew is with the patient from the discharging facility, on the flight, and is with the patient until arrival at the receiving facility. Although many companies do not provide this service, AeroCare feels that bedside to bedside service is very important and we provide this service on every flight. It allows our crews to maintain continuity in care, even while on the ground ambulance and also insures that a detailed medical report is given to the receiving medical crew.
May a family member come with the patient?
Normally yes and there is no additional charge. There are however cases where our Medical Director may not approve a family member for a variety of reasons that may impede patient care.
What arrangements does AeroCare make for the flight?
AeroCare makes all arrangements regarding the air ambulance flight. This includes having our Medical Director or Medical Crew Supervisor obtain a pre-flight medical consult, arranging ground ambulances at both ends of the flight, ordering in-flight catering, handling insurance paperwork, notifying the receiving hospital of the arrival time and confirming bed availability, as well as any special requests of the family.
What assurances are there that the aircraft is safe?
All of the aircraft AeroCare uses are operated by Part 135 Operators regulated by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). These are very stringent regulations that outline pilot training and aircraft operation and maintenance. AeroCare meets or exceeds all of these guidelines. In addition, all Captains utilized by AeroCare are trained annually at Flight Safety or an equivalent factory approved, simulator based program. All AeroCare Aircraft are designed and equipped for all weather operation and have outstanding safety records.