When is a Ground Ambulance vs Air Ambulance vs Helicopter used?

Ground Ambulance

It normally makes both practical and economic sense to transport a patient via ground ambulance for transports within 200 miles.

Helicopter Air Ambulance

A helicopter Air Ambulance is generally used if an emergency transport is needed, especially from hospital to hospital within a range of about 200 miles.

Airplane (Fixed Wing) Air Ambulance

Non emergency transports more than 200 miles are usually most effective in a airplane air ambulance. Emergency air transports that are more than 300 miles are usually most effective in airplane air ambulance.

Will my insurance provider pay for air ambulance transport

Primary health insurance providers usually only pay to transport a patient to the closest hospital or medical facility. If you are over seas and need to get home, most likely your normal insurance provider won’t cover it.

There are insurances that are specific to air ambulance coverage. Here are links to a few of them:

Air Ambulance Card -Prepaid medical transportation

Isis – Insurance company offering air ambulance program

Medex – Insurance company with air ambulance coverage

MASA – Mexico Insurance Professionals

Are air ambulances used for non-emergency transports?

Yes, an air ambulance chartered on your behalf can transport patients who need non-critical care, are bedridden, or fragile.  Many patients take a private air ambulance just because they cannot situp or have injuries that make them fragile, uncomfortable and not suited for normal commercial aircaraft transport.

Aircraft may be equipped with a combination of an Intensive Care Unit and a Coronary Care Unit based on  patient needs.

Emergency medical aircraft should also have a specially FAA approved stretcher that looks similar to a bed that allows fragile patients to travel in comfort whil minimizing movement.

Tertiary hospital Care

A specialized, highly technical level of health care that includes diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability in sophisticated, large research and teaching hospitals serving a large geographic region.  Specialized intensive care units, advanced diagnostic support services, and highly specialized personnel/specialist physicians for cardiac, medical, trauma, neurological, pediatric, and neonate/infant care, are characteristic of tertiary health care.