All posts by airambulance

How to Book a Medical Flight?

Booking a medical flight can seem like a daunting task, especially in light of the fact that you would be booking an entire airplane for yourself. However, it is entirely different from booking a charter plane. In most cases, all you need to do is make a call to set things up. Here, we bring you a rough step-wise guide. Although the process may vary slightly depending on the medical flight provider, it would broadly remain the same.

Begin with a Simple Call to the Medical Flight Provider

Better still, you can simply fill an online form requesting the provider to contact you. Remember, at this stage, you are merely asking for price quotes and evaluating the options before you. Do not commit to booking a medical flight at this point. Also, it is recommended that you call multiple medical flight providers before zeroing on one. Expect questions like your current location, destination, and the diagnosis of the patient. Most providers will get back to you within 30 minutes and give you a price quote.

Ask What the Cost Covers

Ideally, the costs should include ground transport from and to the hospital and airport, medical crew and aircraft charges, equipment fee, landing fee, and a few other miscellaneous fees that should not amount to a lot. If any of these are left out, proactively ask about them so that you get a clear idea of what you are getting into.

Confirmation and the Ensuing Process

Once you confirm that you want to take the medical flight services from a particular provider, you will be asked for personal details like name, date of birth, weight, etc. You will also be asked about the desired time and date of transportation. You will have to give your passport details if you are flying international. You will have to specify whether a person would be accompanying you and also the amount of luggage that you would be carrying.

Air Ambulance Cost – Otero County Sets the Perfect Example

Saying that air ambulance cost is something that most people in the United States dread is stating the obvious. However, Otero County is leading by an example to overcome this problem. This county of New Mexico has found a middle path that is beneficial to everyone involved. The Otero County Commissioners have got into an understanding with Air Methods, which is among the largest air ambulance service providers in the country. The air ambulance provider owns Native Air which services the local population.

Air Ambulance Cost could be as Low as $2.5 a Year

Well, the figure is a best- case scenario where every Otero resident opts to become a member of the annual plan. There are about 65,000 people in the county and all it takes is $2.5 per annum to cover the costs of the air ambulance. However, this is only a possibility on books. The affordably has still not been dented. Currently, the membership is being offered to individuals at a very reasonable cost of $45 and $75 for families. The families must already have a primary health insurance to avail the membership.

It is Hoped that Over a Thousand People will Embrace the Air Ambulance Plan

The membership is slated to get cheaper as more and more people opt for the air ambulance subscription. However, there are certain cons. If the patients end up availing an air ambulance that does not belong to Air Methods, they’ll invariably end up paying huge amounts. Also, people may argue that a plan like this may create a monopoly of sorts which goes against the very basic principles of a capitalistic economy. However, monopoly or not, the plan is affording peace of mind to several residents of Otero County. People also do not have to depend on the county to avail this membership.

Preparing for Medical Flight when Time is On Your Side

A medical flight becomes a necessity when travelling long distances on commercial flights is impossible, owing to the level of care that the patient’s health demands. On the brighter side, it gives the family members enough time to prepare for one. There are several things that the medical flight service provider will help the family and the patient with. However, being knowledgeable about certain aspects of the travel makes it easier for the family. The family must be prepared with the history and physical as well as the discharge summary of the patient, along with copies of insurance cards. Government issued identification is also necessary.

Limitations while Availing a Medical Flight Service

The patient’s family must understand that the medical flight is designed for the patient and carries a huge amount of medical equipment. Unlike, a commercial flight, it is not exactly designed for normal commuters. So, the family members must consult with the medical flight provider as to the maximum luggage that can be carried. It is usually about a 21-inch roller bag that is allowed. Some air ambulances do not allow for family members to accompany the patient in the medical flight; however, most of them accommodate at least one family member. It all depends on the space available and the size of the air ambulance. A quick check with the flight coordinator is always a wise move.

Availing International Air Ambulance Services

It is a given that the family must ensure that the patient’s passport, visa, travel documents and insurance are in place. It is advisable to also carry electronic copies of all the documents for easy retrieval and backup. A detailed discussion regarding the receiving hospital and the logistics between the airport and the hospital is advised. While experienced medical flight coordinators cover such things, there is no harm in knowing the details.

Ensuring Medical Air Transport Coverage Beyond Health Insurance

Americans today seem to have a false sense of security thinking that everything related to their medical wellbeing is automatically covered by health insurance. The reality is far from this belief. The health insurance providers differentiate between hospital expenses and medical air transport. While a good insurance will cover almost the entire medical treatment bill, the same insurance would hardly cover one-third of the medical air transport bill. To make matters worse, the medical air transport cost, even for short distances, sometimes is very high.

Why are Medical Air Transport Costs so High?

Maintaining helicopters and airplanes is no child’s play. It’s an expensive affair. Plus, keeping emergency professionals on standby at all times means additional costs. All these expenses, of course, have to be ultimately borne by the patients availing the services or the health insurance providers. The insurance providers only cover the in-network medical air transport services, and since insurance companies tend to disagree with the high bills that air ambulance companies generate, they only end up covering a part of it. This dissuades these companies to go in-network with the insurance carriers.

There is a Way Out and It Does not Cost Much

All it takes is a bit of planning. When you know well that insurance companies do not cover the expenses fully, exploring other options is the wise thing to do. There are several agencies that specialize in providing medical transport coverage. The costs are nominal and the coverage is usually good. They cover those expenses which are left uncovered by the insurance companies. So, in today’s world while ensuring medical insurance coverage is important, it is equally important to also keep yourself and your family covered for medical air transport emergencies. Failing to do so, can land you in a financial mess that can take years to clean up.

Six Amazing Facts about Worldwide Air Ambulance Services

We look at worldwide air ambulance services to bring you some facts – some fun and some intriguing; nevertheless, they are all interesting.

Fact 1: The Wright Brothers’ maiden flight was in the year 1903 but the first air ambulance service dates back to 1870! Wondering how? It was the French who first found use for it in their military endeavors. The air ambulances were not really mechanical. What the French used were air balloons. Well, we can still call them air ambulances.

Fact 2: The common notion is that worldwide air ambulance services are sought to transport patients to cover long distances. Contrary to this belief, the average distance covered by these life-saving birds is just about 52 miles. Interesting, isn’t it?

Fact 3: Air ambulances played a big part in World War I and were a great success. After the War ended in 1918, the private industry was quick to catch up. The 1930s saw several private air ambulance companies across the world, but the greatest capitalist country in the world, the US, was a bit late to catch up with the trend.

Fact 4: The medical flight industry in the United States employs over 21 thousand skilled professionals. The average salary is over $68,000. However, their exemplary services prove useful to over 400 thousand people each year!

Fact 5: It is the ageing population that is driving the worldwide air ambulance industry. For instance, in the US, the industry is expected to grow at the rate of 10% per annum, mainly owing to an aging population. The fact debunks the belief that MVAs are what keep the demand high.

Fact 6: The air ambulance industry has more helicopters when compared to airplanes and the cost of hiring a medical flight can range anywhere between $12,000 and $25,000 most of the time. However, the cost can go much higher if the level of care needed is high.

Guide to Handle Medical Air Transport Bills

While medical air transport is, no doubt, a life-saving necessity, the bills that the service generates can be quite shocking in most instances. The one belief that lands people in a financial mess is that having a medical insurance is enough to cover the medical air transport bill. Nothing could be far from reality. Insurance companies usually have a tie-up with only a few air ambulance companies. The rest of the companies are considered “out of network” by these insurance providers. What makes it worse is that medical emergencies do not always allow people to choose the in-network companies. When it’s a question of life and death, the quickest service is always the first priority.

Medical Air Transport Requirements are Real – Plan Them

“Prevention is better than cure” and this saying holds true for medical air transport planning. People need to get out of denial thinking, “Oh, that’s a farfetched requirement for me.” Memberships are offered by most air ambulance companies at a very reasonable price. Availing these is the wisest thing you can do.

What if You Do Not Have Air Ambulance Coverage or Membership?

Let’s consider a scenario where you end up with a huge medical air transport bill and you’re absolutely unable to pay it; plus your health insurance refuses to cover it. Get in touch with the air ambulance company, tell them your financial status and make it clear to them what you can pay. Most companies will agree to what you can pay (or at least a figure close to it). The reason is simple – a smaller payment is better than no payment at all.

You can request them for a payment plan, if you think you can pay it over a period of time. Also, negotiate with your health insurance company and try to get them to pay more. Do not shy away from taking legal opinion if it comes to that.

Choosing the Right Air Ambulance Services

It’s not every time that you get to choose the air ambulance services of your choice – after all emergencies do not knock the door before entering your life. But during those times that you do get to choose the right one for you, it pays (literally) to be well prepared. So, what are those parameters that you need to look at? That’s precisely the question we answer here.

How Experienced are the Personnel Hired by the Air Ambulance Services?

This is the foremost question that you need to ask. Remember, once onboard the air ambulance, the patient’s well being is entirely in the hands of these medical professionals. While most air ambulance services are particular about experienced staff, it is always wise to proactively ask about it. Four to five years is a decent benchmark.

Insurance Coverage

That’s a big one. Simply put, you do not want to come home to a huge medical bill welcoming you with open arms, only to engulf you in a lifetime of debt. Remember, out-of-coverage air ambulance services are not what you want. So, always know what your health insurance carrier covers. Know whether and to what extent your insurance covers air ambulance services.

Explore Cheaper Alternatives

Not all situations demand that you have an entire air ambulance to yourself. Air Ambulance stretchers and air medical escorts are alternatives that you can weigh. Of course, your treating physician is the one who will give you the best perspective here.

Non-Medical Support from Air Ambulance Services

Does the air ambulance service provider also have insurance specialists? How effective is their logistics team? Do they arrange for ambulances from the landing area to the hospital? These are some of the questions that you need to ask.

Look for Reviews Pertaining to Air Ambulance Services

Testimonials, social media pages, and review websites are ideal for some research about the air ambulances services. If a lot of the patients have had bad experiences, you are better off steering clear of such a provider.

The Need for Charity Medical Flight Services in the US

The United States of America is among the most expensive countries when it comes to health care. Of course, the quality of health care and the due diligence conducted is exemplary. However, not many citizens are able to afford much-needed health care in the absence of proper insurance. Now, couple this with the cost of medical flight services during emergencies. All these factors put together can form the perfect recipe for an imminent bankruptcy or at least a financial disaster that might take a lifetime to recover from.

Several Medical Flight Services Offer Discounts

We have seen a lot of instances where medical flight providers are forthcoming with discounts when the insurance carriers refuse to cover the expenses. However, this is not always enough. The compounding medical bills along with the medical flight expense can be quite high. So, what is the solution? It does not seem that the state governments capping the air ambulance fee is not simply enough. The question arises: is there a better way to handle this situation? Well, there is and it could be a joint responsibility.

Charity Medical Flight Services Could be the Answer

The United Kingdom has long relied on charity for the medical flight services. It’s not that maintaining air ambulances is cheaper in that country. However, it is often seen that medical flight services are a community affair. One comes across several instances where people go to great length to raise money for medical flight charities. Even Prince William has been a part of a charity medical flight service before. One finds that victims of accidents, invariably after their recovery pay for the act of kindness through fund-raising efforts. The country sees lotteries that had held to raise money regularly. Most importantly, the citizens and non-profit organizations together have realized the importance of such services for the good of humankind.

Taking a Medical Flight? Know what ‘Balance Bill’ is

More often than not, we hear about skyrocketing medical flight bills that families are forced to pay. While it is natural for such families to feel victimized, having some prior knowledge about insurance coverage can prove helpful. If you are among those people who feel all they need to do is pay health insurance premiums, sit back and relax, here’s some news: your most basic health needs might not be covered. This mostly happens when the medical service provider is out of network.

Out of Network Medical Flights can Be Expensive

Take the case of 8-year-old Ben Millheim who met with an unfortunate accident fracturing his skull. The injury necessitated using a medical flight service to a hospital about 100 miles from the site of injury. While the boy survived and recovered well, his parents are still reeling under the $32,000 medical flight bill. Unfortunately for them, the medical flight service that they had used was out of their insurance network. As a result they are now liable to pay the service provider the ‘balance bill.’ In other words, they have to now shell out of their pockets the amount that their insurance provider has refused to pay the medical flight company for the reason that it does not come in their network.

It’s Almost Always a No-win Situation for Patients

Life-threatening injuries leave little room for checking whether a particular medical flight service provider is covered by the health insurance. While insurance companies flatly refuse to bear such expenses, it has been seen that air ambulance companies usually offer a discount to such patients. Plus, several states in the United States have passed legislation to limit balance billing; however, some states like Missouri have not. It must also be noted that there is no federal regulation that governs balance billing, leaving people vulnerable.

Do You Have the Mental Build to Be an Air Ambulance Paramedic?

While an air ambulance is extremely important to get the patient the care that he or she deserves right when it is needed, it is the paramedics who make sure that the patient gets adequate care in the interim. The situations that paramedics find themselves in are invariably stressful. What makes a great paramedic is the ability to function intelligently under stress. If you are mulling a career as an air ambulance paramedic, you need to do some amount of introspection before you get into it.

The Personality Prerequisites of an Air Ambulance Paramedic

  • Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
  • Am I usually calm and contained when faced with stressful situations?
  • Am I a quick thinker?
  • How is my level of physical fitness?
  • How good are my problem-solving and analytical skills?
  • Am I a team player?
  • How good am I at remembering guidelines and protocols?
  • Do I communicate effectively enough?
  • Do I judge people? Am I a tolerant person?
  • Do I enjoy working with people who have diverse backgrounds?
  • Can I commit myself to a life of continuous learning?

The Pay is Good and the Work is Challenging

Touching human lives on a daily basis is something that drives certain individuals. However, one needs to take into consideration other factors like qualifications. It is also a lot of hard physical work at times. Once you take into considerations these factors, if you still feel that you have it in you to become an air ambulance paramedic, you should definitely go for it. Keep in mind that the wages you earn will be in tune with your qualification and your experience. So, patience is a virtue that you must possess. Finally, always choose qualifications that are internationally recognized.