Coronavirus Patients Battle Surprise Bills
When a COVID-19 patient in Pennsylvania had to be transported between two in-network hospitals, she was unaware that the air ambulance firm, Air Methods, that transported her, did not have a contract with her health insurance plan, or, owned by a private-equity firm, faces lawsuits over its billing tactics according to the New York Times.
“She was intubated and on a ventilator when her providers felt it was necessary that she be transferred,” says Leslie Pierce, a division chief at the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, who handled the complaint that the patient submitted to the agency. “She had no decision in the selection process.” Although the office of Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman has no authority to regulate air ambulance bills, her staff did make a phone call to the patient’s insurer, Independence Blue Cross. The situation then resolved quickly when the company said it was reprocessing the claim by the time the regulator called.