HELENA (AP) – Lawmakers are scheduled to take up a bill that would require air ambulance providers and insurance companies to negotiate payments for services, even if the provider is not in network with the patient’s insurance company.
Senate Bill 44 follows recommendations made by the Economic Affairs Interim Committee after the state insurance commissioner received complaints from people who had received bills of up to $100,000 for out-of-network air ambulance services not covered under their insurance plans.
The bill is scheduled for its first hearing Tuesday in the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs committee.
It would hold patients responsible only for their co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.
A committee working group heard from insurance companies, health plans, air ambulance providers and patients and the conclusion seemed to be that some air ambulance bills were too high and some insurance companies offered too little reimbursement.
“The key with all of this is trying to find that balance, trying to find that sweet spot between the air ambulance provider and the insurer – and we haven’t gotten there,” said Jesse Laslovich, former chief counsel in the office of the state Auditor and Securities Commissioner, during an August hearing.
The bill would require insurance companies and health plans to pay at least the highest amount they would pay an in-network air ambulance service provider and then allows the sides to further negotiate, enter into mediation or take the issue to court.
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