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Insurance Consumer Advocate

Sha'Ron James

Contact Us
Mailing: 200 East Gaines St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0308

For Consumer Assistance:
Contact the Division of
Consumer Services within the
Department of Financial Services

Online at
Consumer Services
Toll-free in Florida
Out of State
(850) 413-3089
(850) 413-3033

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Emergency Medical Transportation

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It is my pleasure to share with you the

Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s White Paper,
Emergency Medical Transportation Costs in Florida


Emergency Medical Transportation Costs in Florida

Click here to open the White Paper

Click here to open a PDF of the White Paper


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After a life threatening accident or major medical emergency, emergency medical transportation (EMT) services can quickly transport a patient to receive immediate health care attention at a nearby facility. EMT includes air and ground ambulance services for emergency medical situations and conditions. Air ambulances are helicopters or airplanes that contain sophisticated medical equipment and staff trained to stabilize patients as they are transported to a facility for care. Although some health care policies provide coverage for this event, some coverage gaps can leave consumers with surprise high medical bills for the service. The Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate has identified this issue as a concernand seeks to inform, engage, and advocate for measures that will help ensure that this life saving service is affordable for Florida consumers.

Also, see the NAIC consumer alert for air ambulance.



Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate's Emergency Medical Transportation Working Group

Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha’Ron James is pleased to announce the formation of the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Emergency Medical Transportation Working Group. The EMT Working Group will meet over the course of one year to gather information, analyze data, and assess the impact of emergency medical transportation costs to Florida’s insurance consumers. Florida consumers may be shocked to learn that many air and ground emergency medical transportation services are often considered out-of-network by their healthcare plans, and that they owe several hundred or, in some cases, thousands of dollars for the use of the service. The EMT Working Group’s focus will center on addressing the needs of Florida’s insurance consumers by identifying solutions that may address issues and concerns faced by the ambulance service, insurance industry, and ultimately the insurance buying public.

The members of the working group are as follows:

  • Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
    Sha'Ron James, Insurance Consumer Advocate

  • Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
    Jennifer Pettineo, General Counsel

  • Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services
    Tasha Carter, Director

  • Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
    Chris Struk, Life & Health Policy Advisor

  • America’s Health Insurance Plans
    Joy M. Ryan, Meenan P.A.

  • Florida Aero Medical Association
    Jeffery See, Regional Vice President, Air Methods

  • Florida Ambulance Association
    Joe Scialdone, EMS Billing Manager, Escambia County

  • Florida Association of Counties
    Mac Kemp, Deputy Chief of Clinical Affairs, Leon County Emergency Medical Services

  • Florida Association of Health Plans
    Wences Troncoso, Vice President and General Counsel

  • Florida Blue
    David Pizzi, Director, Political and External Relations

  • Florida College of Emergency Physicians
    Dr. Kristin McCabe-Kline, Chief of Staff, Florida Hospital

  • Florida Hospital Association
    Lecia Behenna, Director of Finance

  • Florida League of Cities
    Chief Dan Azzariti, Fire Chief, Plant City


Working Group Meetings


Date Time Documents Video Link
10/17/16 9:00am - 12:00pm



02/28/17 9:00am - 1:00pm




The Florida Channel

06/13/17 9:00am - 1:00pm




The Florida Channel

10/31/17 9:00am - 11:30am



The Florida Channel





News Articles and Press Releases


12/14/2018 Proposal Targets Cost Of Emergency Transportation For Patients Christine Sexton - WLRN
11/27/2018 New Va. law gives patients choice of ambulance vs. air ambulance transport EMS1.com
11/26/2018 Sky-high prices for air ambulances hurt those they are helping Jen Christensen - CNN
09/27/2018 Will Congress Bring Sky-High Air Ambulance Bills Down To Earth? Jackie Fortier - Kaiser Health News
09/26/2018 Taken For A Ride: After ATV Crash, Doctor Gets $56,603 Bill For Air Ambulance Trip Alison Kodjak - Kaiser Health News
08/23/2018 Anthem health insurance makes deals with two main air ambulance companies to cover airlifts for Missouri customers Blythe Bernhard - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
07/27/2018 Emergency flights land patients, hospitals with sky-high bills Chelsea Boulrisse - Business Weekly
07/24/2018 Air ambulance companies have consumers in death grip Trudy Lieberman - Capital Journal
07/03/2018 Rising Air Ambulance Bills Hit Patients With Added Shock The New York Times
06/28/2018 Ban on air ambulance balance billing sought in Florida Kelly Gooch - Becker's Hospital CFO Report
06/27/2018 Limit consumer charges for air ambulances, state report urges Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
06/11/2018 Air Ambulances Are Flying More Patients Than Ever, and Leaving Massive Bills Behind John Tozzi - Bloomberg
05/29/2018 Audrey Brown: Ending balance billing practices by air ambulances in FL Audrey Brown - Florida Politics
05/10/2018 McCaskill to introduce air ambulance legislation following local reporting Mike Colombo - KPLR 11 St. Louis
03/27/2018 States find there's little they can do about big air ambulance bills Renuka Rayasam - POLITICO Pro Health Care
03/12/2018 After a boy fractured his skull in rural Missouri, family faces air ambulance bill of $32,000 Samanta Liss - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
02/08/2018 Hawaii bill seeks to make insurers pay for air ambulance rides EMS1 Staff - EMS1.com
12/23/2017 A Spotlight on the Problems of Ambulance Balance Billing Robin Gelburd - Real Clear Health
12/14/2017 Bill would reimburse EMS for services The Indiana Gazette
12/13/2017 Family stunned by $60K air ambulance bill Kenneth Amaro - First Coast News
11/08/2017 Stop balance billing by ambulances, state board says Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
11/01/2017 EMT Working Group Discusses Balance Billing, Ambulance Costs Nick Evans - WUSF News
10/31/2017 First responders blame insurers for high ambulance costs EMS1.com
10/31/2017 Insurers, EMS providers battle over transportation fees Jake Stofan - WCTV
10/31/2017 Surprise ambulance bills: Watch for white paper by year’s end Chalres Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/30/2017 Stunned by an ambulance bill? Watch this meeting Chalres Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/16/2017 Final Emergency Medical Transportation Meeting Seeks to Find Solutions for Consumers Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
09/30/2017 Florida insurance chief pushes patient billing change Christine Sexton - The Daytona Beach News-Journal
09/21/2017 Air ambulances: The pain of the accident, the suffering of the bill Dennis Owens - ABC 27
08/07/2017 Air ambulance prices double, GAO says. Should Florida do anything? Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
06/14/2017 Searching for Solutions to the High Price of Air Ambulances John Lucas - The Capitolist
06/13/2017 Air ambulances: Insurers call for end to balance billing to consumers Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
06/12/2017 Air ambulances: There when you need it most Walt Dartland - Capital Soup
04/24/2017 Pennsylvania Fights Against Large, Surprise Bills For Air Ambulance Services Mark Nootbaar - 90.5 WESA Pittsburgh's NPR News Station
04/11/2017 Consumer Reports: Air ambulances leave patients with high costs Lindsey Sablan - Wink News
03/08/2017 State legislators form air ambulance billing team LifeHealthPro
02/28/2017 Palm Beach ambulance official: We are ‘framed’ on balance billing Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
02/24/2017 Fear calling 911 because of an ambulance charge? Tell the state now Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
02/02/2017 County commissioner's ambulance insurance proposal makes cost around $50 Christopher Saul - WEAR TV
12/22/2016 State Court Ruling Prevents Price Gouging by Air Ambulance Companies Texas Mutual Insurance Company - PR Newswire
11/14/2016 Seminole looks at costly 'non transport' ambulance fees Martin E. Comas - Orlando Sentinel
11/08/2016 Air Methods Corp. hit with sixth lawsuit claiming price gouging Amy Dipierro - Business Den
11/04/2016 Sky high air ambulance bills send patients into orbit Brett Shipp & Mark Smith - WFAA
10/24/2016 Action 9 investigates sky-high air ambulance rates WFTV 9 ABC
10/21/2016 EMT Working Group Takes A 'Balance' Approach Jim Ash - WFSU
10/20/2016 Emergency air medical services must be preserved, protected Amanda Thayer
10/20/2016 Surprise ambulance bills: Use Uber if not dying, commenter says Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/18/2016 Florida's Insurance Commissioner Advocate forms group to look at air ambulance costs Adam Walser - ABC Action News
10/17/2016 Surprise bills: Ambulance charges slam consumers up to $37K per ride Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/17/2016 Working Group Looks For Ambulance Cost Ceiling Jim Ash - WFSU
10/12/2016 Surprise bills: Ambulances out of health networks draw panel’s scrutiny Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/12/2016 Ambulances out of insurer networks draw panel’s scrutiny Charles Elmore - Palm Beach Post
10/10/2016 Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate's Emergency Medical Transportation Working Group Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate
08/30/2016 Lawmakers back air ambulance bill to protect consumers Troy Carter - Bozeman Daily Chronicle
08/29/2016 NCOIL looks at high cost of air ambulances Alan Smith - R Street
08/23/2016 HEMS at Odds with Insurers, Medicare Mark Huber - AIN Online
07/11/2016 Air ambulances; financial burden soon could be lifted Sara Stinson - KTVH
07/08/2016 Air ambulance working group discusses proposed legislation Associated Press - Valley Morning Star
06/08/2016 Air Ambulances Can Cost Some Patients up to $80,000 Mattie Quinn - EMS World
06/02/2016 ND woman receives $58,000 bill after being airlifted twice Hayley Crombleholme - Inforum
05/12/2016 Air medical providers seek productive solutions regarding consumer costs, not empty rhetoric Richard Sherlock - Missoulian
05/11/2016 High cost of air ambulance trips Dale Russell - FOX 5
05/09/2016 Woman killed by ambulance billed $25K for ambulance ride she didn’t live long enough to take Travis Gettys - Raw Story
05/04/2016 The painful price you’ll pay if you ever need a life-saving air ambulance Jenna Morton - WQAD 8
05/01/2016 Chopper shock: Couple gets $60K bill for 25-minute air evacuation Rick Karlin - Times Union
04/25/2016 Air ambulance rides can amount to sky-high costs for families Tiffany Lester - NBC Montana
04/20/2016 Growing air ambulance industry presents cost, regulation challenges Emily Rappleye - Becker's Hospital CFO
04/18/2016 ND senators working to curb sky high air ambulance bills Forum News Service - WDAY 6 ND
04/15/2016 Air Ambulance Reform Effort Dies In US Senate Corin Cates-Carney - Montana Public Radio
03/18/2016 Team 10: Airlift patients left to foot thousands in bills Adam Rocusin - ABC 10 News
03/18/2016 Air rescue's hidden cost Andy Pierrotti and Andy Viganas - KVUE
03/17/2016 Air ambulance sticker shock: Life-saving flight can leave you buried in debt Connie Thompson - KOMO News
03/16/2016 SKY RAGE: big bills, debt, and lawsuits following medical helicopter flights Brooks Jarosz - ABC6


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