Click here to see the original story in the Press Democrat newspaper.
Could this be you on the hook for $36,000? Yes. If you don't have air ambulance membership service (cost $65 - $85 a year).
You are hiking or trail running, slip and fall 50 feet down a ravine and break your ankle with a possible heart attack. You are riding your mt. bike, take a corner too fast and crash into a tree, breaking some ribs and suffer a concussion. You are a horseback rider and you and your horse are attacked by ground wasps, causing a fall, some broken bones and you are starting to go into anaphylactic shock. These are medical emergencies that can't be easily addressed by basic first aid or ground medical transport. You need emergency medical help, but you are miles from the nearest road. What to do? Call 9-1-1. They will coordinate the help you need with an air ambulance to get you out of the forest and to the nearest ER.
Air ambulances cost from #12,000 to $40,000, depending on time and travel. Who pays for that service? If you don't have insurance that covers air transport, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BILL. If you can't pay, and you have neglected to obtain insurance, then your fellow taxpayers will pick up the bill for you.
RESPONSIBLE TRAIL USERS HAVE AIR AMBULANCE INSURANCE/MEMBERSHIP! You don't want the state to be responsible for you, your air ambulance bill, and your care.
Here are some FAQs from CALSTAR/AirMed Network, our local and extended air ambulance membership and service:
Question: Do I have to carry extra air ambulance service? I already have good private health insurance.
Answer: Some insurance plans will pay for all or a potion of your air ambulance, after your deductible. But, certainly not all. Your insurance can change coverage or your claim can be denied. Contact your insurance agent and make sure you determine your coverage in writing, and then decide what's best for you and your family.
Question: I have Medicare and a supplemental policy, do I need an air ambulance coverage?
Answer: The answer varies, depending upon the nature of your transport and your supplemental insurance provider. In many cases, Medicare and the supplemental insurance coverage should pay for the cost of transport if it is medically necessary and if Medicare believes you were taken to the closest appropriate hospital. Many seniors have said they want a membership even if they have complete coverage, in the event that their insurance coverage changes in the future or if the claim is denied.
Question: Do air ambulances have membership service for more than wilderness emergencies?
Answer: Yes. If your medical emergency meets certain criteria, such as a heart attack, stroke or a traumatic injury and the 911 dispatcher determines you would benefit from emergent ground or air medical transport, they may dispatch an air ambulance to your emergency, as well as a ground ambulance. If you require an emergent medical transport from one Hospital to another hospital, those transfers are ordered by physicians. In the event that the AirMedCare Network Operations Center receive a call for emergency help from an individual or source other than a healthcare or emergency services agency, AirMedCare Network Providers communication specialists will identify and contact the ground EMS service in the patient’s community and ask them to respond to the scene. If they determine air medical transport is needed, they will dispatch one of our air ambulance providers.
Question: Is this a blatant advertisement for air ambulance service?
Answer: Yes. Mother Lode Trails is a proponent of individual responsibility. Air ambulance service is a vital need for active outdoors folks so they don't become dependent on the state. EVERY TRAIL USERS SHOULD CARRY INSURANCE THAT COVERS AIR MEDICAL TRANSPORT AND/OR MEMBERSHIP IN AN AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE.
GET COVERAGE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TODAY
In our area, CALSTAR/AirMed Network has been the trusted local group for decades and comes highly recommended by trail users. They combined the other main services in our area a few years ago, and now cover all the western states and have partners all across the U.S. CLICK HERE for coverage map. There are many trail organizations who can provide you with a discounted membership. Be sure to ask your trails group.