An air ambulance bill totaling $47,182 shocked a man in Arizona who was transported by air to a hospital after falling eight feet and hitting his head. According to the New York Times, Clarence W. Kendall was thankful for the emergency response he received, and was happy to know that his insurance picked up almost all of his hospital bill. The one thing that wasn’t covered? The helicopter ride to the hospital.
“That initial bill nearly gave me a heart attack. I thought they’d have to come and get me again,” said Mr. Kendall. Although the incident happened two years ago, Kendall still hasn’t paid the bill, and now a lawsuit has been filed against him.
The air ambulance bill for $47,182 wasn’t the only one that was sent out. According to the Boston Globe, patients all over the country have received similar bills, some not quite as high, and some higher. Over the past decade, this has become a problem because private insurance companies aren’t paying the steep costs of air ambulance rides.
“Kendall’s case, and many others like it, provides a window into one of the most lucrative booms in health care in recent years. Air ambulance companies, which indisputably save lives, often in dramatic circumstances, have consistently raised their rates and aggressively expanded their networks, adding scores of expensive new helicopters.”
In 2013, an Ohio man by the name of Marc A. Dotson filed for bankruptcy to avoid his bill from the company which was sent after his wife was injured. He was required to pay $22,150.
“They hounded us for a long time,” explained Dotson. There was a lien placed on his house after he failed to pay the bill within a certain amount of time.
The company that is suing Mr. Kendall is Air Methods. It may come as no surprise that the company pulled in one billion dollars in 2014.
The air ambulance bill that totaled $47,182 might seem insanely steep, but this is what’s happening in the world of emergency air transportation. It is unknown if the company offers any sort of payment plan, or if there are insurance companies who will help cut these costs down.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Air Methods has grown over 700 percent over the past decade. The average bill in 2014 was $40,766. Just five years before, however, the average bill was under $20,000. Just imagine what these bills will look like in another 10 years.
[Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]