ND, Mont. lawmakers take on air ambulance balance billing: 4 things to know

Lawmakers in North Dakota and Montana have proposed an amendment to the federal Airline Deregulation Act aimed at protecting consumers from high balance bills after receiving air ambulance services, reports Inforum.

Passed in 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act was intended to encourage competition in air passenger services by allowing customers to choose based on ticket prices, routes and schedules.

Below are four things to know about the proposed amendment.

1. The amendment would allow states to create a call list hospitals and emergency responders would use to summon air ambulances. The list would designate which transport services accept insurance payments in full for air services and which companies bill patients for the outstanding balance.

2. To qualify for the "primary call" list, air ambulance providers would agree to accept major insurers' reimbursement rates as payment in full for their services.

3. Currently, most major insurers in North Dakota reimburse air ambulance providers just one-third of the total bill, oftentimes saddling patients with the rest of the expenses owed, according to the article.  

4. The amendment was created by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and  Jon Tester (D-Mont).

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