Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today it has reached an agreement with Presbyterian Health Plan to provide in-network coverage for its consumers in New Mexico. The agreement will protect Presbyterian Health Plan members in more than 500 communities around the state from unplanned financial liability for Air Methods’ services. Air Methods operates 16 bases in New Mexico and has agreed to accept the amount allowed by Presbyterian Health Plan as full settlement of their charges in the state.
With this agreement, Air Methods is now in-network with more than 50 commercial health plans. Over 80% percent of the population is covered for Air Methods’ high-quality care either through commercial insurance or through Medicare or Medicaid so they will not receive a balance bill for services.
“This agreement eliminates member exposure to balance billing, which is the difference between the provider’s normal billed charges and the amount allowed by the health plan,” said Chris Myers, executive vice president of reimbursement for Air Methods. “It will protect our patients in New Mexico from thousands of dollars in unplanned financial liability when an episode of medical care involves the need for air ambulance transportation. With so many rural communities in the state, air ambulance transport is a critical link between residents and the care they require. We are proud to offer this lifesaving service while ensuring patients in New Mexico are not placed in the middle of the confusing billing process.”
Eliminating the need for air ambulance memberships with in-network agreements
Air Methods is focused on securing in-network partnerships that allow consumers to do away with paying air medical membership fees. In-network coverage offers consumers a discounted rate of payment for qualified services, which varies depending on their plan’s benefits. Staying in-network for healthcare services can help consumers avoid unexpected spending.
Expanding high-quality care access to rural New Mexico
Along with costs, distance from medical facilities is a vital healthcare issue in New Mexico and across the United States, especially with an increasing number of rural hospital closings. Today, 85 million (out of 325 million) Americans have access to a Level-1 or -2 Trauma Care facility within one hour only if they are flown by air-medical missions. Based on a 2018 estimate, 686,089 residents live in rural New Mexico.
Air Methods eliminates the geographic obstacles rural residents face and provides life-saving interventions during transport, such as clot-busting medications that must be given shortly after a major stroke to significantly improve outcomes, and trauma care after an accident.
Air Methods operates more than 300 bases serving 48 states. From these locations, Air Methods can operate its flying intensive care units around-the-clock. Air Methods’ 4,500 team members assist in caring for and transporting more than 70,000 patients every year.
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. The Patient Advocacy Program team works on the patients’ behalf, especially as related to supporting patients with billing questions and insurance appeals.
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