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Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, has announced that it has expanded its partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to provide its Florida Blue plan members with Air Methods’ critical care in the air services at discounted in-network rates.
“This expansion of our agreement with Florida Blue will significantly expand the number of members who will receive our lifesaving services at predictable, in-network rates,” says Chris Myers, executive vice president of reimbursement for Air Methods. “This partnership further reinforces both Air Methods’ and Florida Blue’s commitment to patients’ needs. By offering this critical service as an in-network benefit, we allow members to focus on their recovery instead of bills.”
This latest agreement continues Air Methods’ focus on expanding its in-network partnerships. In-network coverage offers consumers a discounted, out-of-pocket payment for qualified services, which varies depending on their plan’s benefits. Staying in-network for healthcare services can help consumers avoid unexpected spending as well as balanced billing, which is the practice of the healthcare provider billing a patient for the difference between the plan’s reimbursement and the medical charges.
With this expansion, Air Methods now has more than 47 in-network commercial health plans agreements. Today, approximately 70 percent of the population is covered for Air Methods’ services either through commercial insurance or through Medicare or Medicaid so will not receive a balance bill for services.
As hospitals across the country continue to be shuttered, access to care is a growing necessity for many, especially those in rural areas. However, even in highly populated states nearby emergency and specialty care are not always available.
Today, more than one-quarter of the American population, 85 million residents, can only access a Level 1 or 2 Trauma Care facility within one hour if they are flown by air-medical transportation.
Air Methods eliminates those geographic obstacles while providing life-saving interventions during missions, such as clot-busting medications that must be given shortly after a major stroke to significantly improve outcomes and trauma care after an accident. The clinical teams flying on these missions also have the highest first-attempt success rates in the nation among their peers at performing prehospital intubations, which is an emergency medical procedure to open a patient’s airway when breathing is obstructed. Developed exclusively by Air Methods’ clinicians, this emergency process was recently published in the leading textbook for emergency medicine continuing education, Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) (9th Edition).
As Air Methods continues to work towards additional in-network agreements, its Patient Advocacy Program also supports patients with insurance bills when their air-medical care and transportation is an out-of-network benefit. Patient Advocacy Program teams work on the patients’ behalf, especially as related to supporting patients with billing questions and insurance appeals.