Sky High Air Ambulance Bills Surprise Individuals

Apr 02, 2019
  • In Virginia one family got quite a shock when it came to the price of a medical emergency transportation bill for their son to the tune of $40,000.00.

    The Medical Emergency

    Joseph Penrod’s son needed urgent medical care after he accidentally swallowed the prescription medication. After his wife called poison control, they instructed her to get him to an ER as fast as possible. However the ER they brought him to “suggested that they were not appropriately equipped to deal with that particular age of the patient in that particular condition,” according to Penrod when discussing the issue with CBS News.

    A $40,000 Transportation Cost

    As a result, Mr. Penrod’s son was moved to a different medical facility by air ambulance. Even though Mr. Penrod’s insurance paid for the emergency room care, the Penrod family was stuck with a bill for $40,000 for the air ambulance. More often than not, air ambulances are considered to be out of network for an individual’s coverage due to many being independent contractors, leading costs to skyrocket into the thousands.

    A Devastating Blow

    Mr. Penrod said the cost “would have destroyed us financially.” After fighting for almost a year over the bill Mr. Penrod reached a deal to pay $1,000.

    Changes Made

    A new Virginia law became effective on March 1, 2019, that now gives patients the ability to decide if they want to take an air ambulance in a non-emergency situation, as well as making hospitals be more upfront about costs. Colorado is no stranger to this situation, with an in-depth article by The Denver Post on the use of air ambulances in Northern Colorado discussing how the cost can range from $10,000 to upwards of $50,000 or more depending on the circumstances.