What is an Air Ambulance?
When you hear the word “air ambulance” what comes to mind? A transformer-type vehicle of sorts or some awkward looking flying automobile? Although that is fun to consider, in actuality, an air ambulance is most often either a fixed-wing airplane or a helicopter. From the outside, other than the markings identifying it as such, you would never know it was different from any other aircraft. All airplanes and helicopters provide a valuable service transporting us from place-to-place. Usually, we need transportation due to vacation or work-related travel needs or even just for pure fun. When it comes to an air ambulance like Air Evac International, though, the transportation is lifesaving.
Why Would You Need an Air Ambulance?
An air ambulance is utilized to transport injured or sick patients efficiently, comfortably and quickly over long distances or out of remote areas. They are stocked with lifesaving materials/tools, such as medical devices and monitors, along with highly trained medical personnel in order to sustain a patient’s life until they arrive at a hospital. Some like Air Evac International also provide an ICU configured aircraft, along with at least two critical care trained crew.
Is There any Non-Emergency Reason to Use an Air Ambulance?
In general, patients who need to travel 250 miles or more to get the specialized care they need will be best served by air ambulances. Some flights aren’t lifesaving in nature but are needed to transport someone in an extremely remote area to the professional medical care they need.
Typical Reasons People Use an Air Ambulance
Other than rescue and transportation from a remote area after some sort of accident, patients with the conditions listed below also frequently benefit from transportation in an air ambulance. In general, any patient whose condition is critical enough that minutes matter and can make the difference between life and death can benefit from an air ambulance. The following are some of the most common reasons for procuring air ambulance transportation:
- Respiratory disease.
- Heart attacks.
- Pregnancy complications.
- Traumatic injuries.
- End-of-life cases.
- Critically ill.
- Neurological conditions.
How Many People Use Air Ambulances?
According to the Association of Air Medical Services, more than 550,000 American patients utilize the services of an air ambulance on a yearly basis. However, the cost is substantial for transportation in an air ambulance and many health insurances won’t cover it.
How Expensive is an Air Ambulance?
Most air ambulance trips average around 52 miles. This distance typically costs anywhere between $12,000 and $25,000. The cost of your flight is determined by many factors, such as the number of medical staff on board, and the severity of your condition. If the medical crew has to deal with a medical emergency while in flight, the cost can go up. International transportation from abroad back into the United States can run into the six-figure range. Although this cost might seem extremely high, especially if your traditional health insurance won’t cover it, you have to consider the value of our life. The price includes the cost to employ highly trained and skilled medical professionals and pilots, who remain ready to come to your aid at a moment’s notice.
What is Considered Medical Necessary?
Often the services of an air ambulance are only required when “medically necessary”. For example, you need an air ambulance is there is no other way for you to receive the treatment, diagnosis or care you need other than an air ambulance. Often this happens after a serious accident where you would likely not survive a trip to the hospital via a traditional land ambulance ride, simply due to time and the medical limitations of the crew. As mentioned above, when minutes matter, it’s considered medically necessary to employ the use of an air ambulance.
Examples of Medically Necessary Emergencies
The following are some scenarios when it would be medically necessary to call an air ambulance service:
- You are either need a transplant, have a spinal cord injury, head injury, need burn care, have had a heart attack or stroke.
- You need life support or oxygen along with highly skilled medical assistance to sustain life during the trip.
- You are bleeding uncontrollably.
What Can You Do if You Need An Air Ambulance?
Obviously, when you or your loved one’s life is hanging in the balance, the last thing you are worried about is negotiating the cost of transportation via an air ambulance. Thankfully, Medicare might pay a portion of the cost of an air ambulance if it is deemed medically necessary. Be aware, though, Medicare will refuse to pay unless you go to the nearest facility and will not pay anything if you are out of the United States. One option some people have taken is to get air ambulance insurance to protect them from just this situation.
What is Air Ambulance Insurance?
Air ambulance insurance will provide coverage for the medical care you receive during an air ambulance trip, such as life support or oxygen. They will also provide coverage for the cost to transport family members along with the patient. If you opt for air ambulance coverage, be sure to talk to your insurance agent about what is and what is not covered. Some companies will not pay if the air ambulance is outside of a certain mile radius or if a specific type of aircraft is used to transport you. It’s a good idea to address what your regular medical insurance covers when it comes to air ambulance transportation to determine if you would benefit from additional coverage like air ambulance insurance.
Contact Air Evac International for more information on air ambulance services.
Association of Air Medical Services: https://aams.org/