|Date:||December 13, 2017|
|Source:||First Coast News|
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A life-saving ride on an air ambulance has left one Jacksonville family shocked after they found their health insurance won't fully cover the $60,000 cost.
Pat and Denise Slogarsaid they have health insurance to protect them when they need it most and they're prepared to meet their deductibles.
"When you're in the hospital, you think the insurance is going to be paying most of the bill," Denise Slogar said.
Earlier this year, they discovered that is far from the truth.
"I said really, they're going to charge us $60,000? This is outrageous,' Pat Slogar said.
On March 1, Denise Slogar was taken to Baptist South where she was diagnosed with an Aortic Aneurysm. They decided to send her to Gainesville UF Health by an air ambulance, despite her protests.
"I said 'No, just drive me,'" she said
They didn't because a week earlier, she had an episode and was driven by ambulance to Gainesville because the weather conditions did not permit the air ambulance to fly.
Slogar said the trip was 62 miles and the cost was a little more than $60,000.
"I was astounded," she said. "There were no words you just have this $60,000 bill looming over your head.
Then, she discovered the air ambulance is not part of her health insurance plan.
"They said the life-flight is out of network," she said.
They appealed to their insurance company .Their insurance used their ambulance benefits to reduce the bill by a total of $6,000, which left them with a $54,000 balance.
Tired of fighting, a few days ago, they asked the air ambulance company to settle the bill and they agreed to pay $9,893.
"I think people need to be aware," Denise Slogarsaid.
They also believe patients should be informed about the potential costs before hand
"Know what's in your policy... be prepared," Pat Slogar said.
As for the for-profit air ambulance industry, they say perhaps it is time for regulation in the industry.
"They can charge anything they want... there's no regulation," she said. "I think there should be some kind of regulation."
According to the Association for Air Medical Services, every 90 seconds a MedEvac responds to a call.
Now is the time to check to see what's covered in your health plan. If you don't, you may be able toget coverage just for this type of service.
If you've already received an air ambulance bill, ask your health plan to help resolve the issue.
If all fails, file a formal complaint with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.