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JAELYNN WILLIAMS: “FOR AIR MEDICAL SERVICES, MEMBERSHIPS SHOULD BE A THING OF THE PAST.”

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BY AIR METHODS

At Air Methods we have made it our mission to identify more effective ways to keep patients out of the middle of the billing process. We eliminated our membership program back in 2019, focused our efforts on reaching in-network agreements with insurance companies, and developed a robust patient advocacy program that provides the assistance patients need after a transport so they can focus on their recovery rather than bills.

For many years, emergency air medical companies have sold memberships to patients who rely on their services to access critical healthcare during emergencies. This subscription model was created to serve as an alternative to insurance, covering members for the cost of an air ambulance flight when a payer denied reimbursement for the transport. But, in today’s healthcare world, this model is outdated, and it is time to move forward.

As patient billing becomes a top-of-mind issue in 2021, we have not wavered in our commitment to this model that is reducing out-of-pocket costs for our patients, which is now less than $200 including copays and deductibles.

Becker’s Hospital Review recently published an article by our CEO, JaeLynn Williams, calling on the air medical industry to evolve past patient memberships.

Here are some highlights:

A membership is not a prerequisite for care, and it doesn’t replace insurance. That begs the question, is there really a need for them at all? The answer, in short, is no. Air medical services are provided in life-threatening situations when time is of the essence, and there is no time to “schedule” or “wait” for a transport.

We encourage all air medical services that offer membership programs to end them, refund Medicare enrollees who never needed them, and adopt more effective practices.

Over the last four years, Air Methods has deployed multiple strategies to make billing as transparent and simple as possible for our patients. Our guiding principle is to approach any billing concerns according to what is best for them. To accomplish that, we have aggressively pursued in-network agreements with any willing payer who will come to the table and negotiate with us. This has resulted in over 50 percent of our privately insured patients being covered by in-network agreements – up from just 5 percent only four years ago – with partners like Anthem, Humana, and most states’ Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

Read the full article here.