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Think the E.R. Is Expensive? You Should See the Price of Getting to It.

When most people think of the price of emergency medical care, they think of the costs incurred once they’re at the hospital: the doctors and nurses, the X-Rays, I.V. fluids and exams. What usually gets overlooked – until the bill arrives – is the price of the ambulance or emergency helicopter. 

It may be the most surprising part of an emergency care bill for patients to understand. One of the biggest expenses in emergency care is the transportation. Even more difficult? While Medicare frequently picks up a large part of the hospital or emergency room care, only a fraction of the cost of the medical transportation is. A hospital ride could cost thousands and an emergency airlift could cost as much as $50,000.

What are some the reasons for this?

When 911 gets an emergency call, dispatchers decide which ambulance to send based on proximity. Most ambulance companies bill according to the level of skill of the team on board, rather than the medical needs of the patients they collect. A team capable of administering Advanced Cardiac Life Support costs more than one with only basic first aid training.

Distance also plays a factor in expenses. With every mile driven, a charge is added to the fee. Some companies even charge hundreds of dollars extra if a friend or relative rides along with the patient.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize Medicare only covers a fraction of medical transport. And airlifts aren’t just for when you’re travelling in some remote region far from the nearest hospital. Air transport will sometimes be necessary at times when street traffic is heavy or time is of the essence. 

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) covers best-in-class emergency air and ground transport 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from home or anywhere in the world, plus transportation of vehicles, children, grandchildren, and even pets at no additional cost. There are no premiums, deductibles or other hassles. Your association could even provide special discounts for your MASA membership.

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