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Rising air ambulance charges exceed $30,000, report finds

4 Oct 2021 2:11 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

Modern Healthcare source article

ALEX KACIK

October 04, 2021

Air ambulance utilization and charges have been steadily increasing over the past several years, according to a new study.

The average in-network negotiated rate for emergency transport by airplane—excluding mileage charges—rose 76.4%, from $8,855 in 2017 to $15,624 in 2020, according to a FAIR Health analysis of around 35 billion healthcare claims. But most air ambulance rides are out of network, leaving consumers to pay for most of the charges.

The average charge associated with airplane ambulances rose 27.6%, from $19,210 in 2017 to $24,507 in 2020. The average Medicare reimbursement rose 4.7% to $3,216 over that span, the same rate increase as emergency helicopter rides.

The average charge associated with ambulance by helicopter rose 22.2%, from $24,924 in 2017 to $30,446 in 2020.

...

The Biden administration published an interim surprise billing rule last week, which states that providers and payers can turn to an independent dispute resolution process if an out-of-network provider and payer can't come to an agreement over payment during a 30-day "open negotiation."

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