Class Action Lawsuit: Air Ambulance Overbilling

Air ambulances save lives—but it will cost you. A road ambulance ride is pricey, but a transport in an air ambulance (helicopter) is even more so. That’s why McIntyre Law is bringing a class action lawsuit for air ambulance overbilling; a ride to a hospital by air ambulance could cost $40,000, and your insurance will only cover a portion of that expense.

One Lexington, Oklahoma woman almost died as a result of a collision with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. She was airlifted to a trauma center in Oklahoma City. Her medical insurance paid just under $6,000 for the flight, but the remainder of the bill was nearly $33,000. The McIntyre Law team is working with this plaintiff to determine if a class action suit is the ideal way to recover costs from this 25-mile helicopter trip for her trauma treatment.

Why is air ambulance overbilling so common?

Air ambulance overbilling happens because an ambulance ride is expensive. A new single-engine helicopter that is equipped as an ambulance can cost $4 million to purchase, and the cost of each flight could be between $7,400 and $10,000. But, that still doesn’t account for the $40,000 bills that some patients have received for their transport costs.

One reason for this air ambulance overbilling is that the industry, itself, has made some miscalculations. There are currently more air ambulances in circulation than there is patient need. So, companies are paying high costs to maintain these helicopters, but there is more supply than demand.

Would a regular ambulance be less expensive?

Yes. That’s one of the patients’ contentions — that in some cases, they could have reached a hospital or trauma center just as fast in a road ambulance as in an air ambulance. Additionally, some air ambulance companies charge for the ride, itself, and then up to $300 per mile. So, even short trips are very expensive. And, of course, in an emergency, you’re not able to make a decision for yourself as to how you want to be transported to a trauma unit.

An Arizona rancher fell eight feet off a haystack and hit his head on a truck. The nation’s largest air ambulance service, whose annual revenue is over $1 billion, flew him to a Tucson hospital and charged him $47,000 for the service. Aside from the bills, themselves, are the tactics that these companies are using to try to collect payment. Air ambulance companies have been known to use collections agencies, put liens on debtors’ homes and other aggressive strategies. Some of these debtors have had to declare bankruptcy and have had their credit ruined.

What if I’m a victim of air ambulance overbilling?

The McIntyre Law team may be representing clients bringing a class action suit for air ambulance overbilling. Your insurance will only cover a small fraction of what you would be charged for an air ambulance transport, and the air ambulance companies are overcharging patients for this emergency service. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you to recover excessive costs incurred from an air ambulance transport.

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