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Air Ambulances: Taking Patients for a Ride

In a true medical emergency you call a ground ambulance and your insurance company is likely to pay most of the cost, but insurance companies say air ambulances charge such huge bills that they’re only willing to pay a fraction of the cost.

That means you, as the consumer, are stuck to pay the rest of the bill. Consumer Reports says the average bill for medical helicopters is more than $30,000.

What's even more shocking? Consumer Reports finds many people taken by air ambulance could have been safely driven to the hospital in a ground ambulance in the same amount of time, or even quicker.

This may seem unfair for consumers because, in an emergency situation, the last thing you’re thinking about is how you’re going to pay the bill for the transportation that takes you to the hospital. Consumers often have absolutely no idea they’re going to be on the hook for such a big bill.

If you get stuck with a high air-ambulance bill, Consumer Reports suggests you ask your insurance company to advocate on your behalf to challenge the bill directly with the air-ambulance provider. And to bolster your odds, file a formal complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance.

Online: Texas Department of Insurance

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