Tom Evans: Don''t sweat the air ambulance
- Written by Tom Evans
Worried you may need to be air ambulanced off Island, and not a member of the right air ambulance carrier? Or, you will be socked with a bill of 20K + Listen up. I have good news. You don’t actually have to be a member until just before the wheels leave the ground – as long as you have some form of insurance, no matter how skinny – Medicaid/Medicare/High Deductible individual – any insurance which may not even cover air ambulance.
What’s the big deal with stickers and ads “Get membership in ___ or you won’t be safe and will be sorry.” It’s just the opposite – sign up when your gurney is shoved into the helicopter/airplane and you will be safe and won’t be sorry.
Why so much worry by so many Islanders? The only thing these services are after is an assignment of benefits from whatever insurance you have. Case in point: my wife and I both were air ambulanced to Bellingham. My bill: 30k. Her bill: 40k. Insurance – Medicare. We signed up inside the OIFR ambulance. Amount each of us paid: $0 Plus the service was excellent, staffed by caring medical professionals. Everything was covered, from front door to ER room. Faster/better than Seattle. I know based on actual service in both places.
Disclaimer. Circumstances can change or vary greatly. Don’t just rely of this letter. Prove it for yourself. Call any of the three OIFR services-
Airlift NW 888-835-1599
Island Air Ambulance 360-378-2376
Life Flight 800-982-9299.