BLACKFOOT—A few weeks ago we asked our Facebook friends about their financial experience with an emergency Life Flight; due to the response on Facebook, we decided to do some research.
LifeFlight Network's(LFN) main goal is to save lives. They have been striving to achieve that goal by transporting over 75,000 patients over the course of the past 35 years.
LFN is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit air medical service. There are fifteen bases in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and various reciprocal partners around the western United States. Idaho's bases are located in Pocatello, Boise, Eagle, Lewiston, and Sandpoint.
Most of our Facebook friends commented on how ridiculous it cost to have a friend or loved one who had to be transported via LFN. Here are a few of their comments:
"My son had to ride on life flight last March. It was $40,000 before insurance costs. If we paid it all at once they would reduce it to $20,000," Becki Whiting Kress continues, "That was from Idaho Falls to Primary Children's in Salt Lake."
"Last year my 45 minute ride cost me $22,000," said Brock A. Bassett.
"$19, 500 as of 2012 from Blackfoot to Portneuf," said Nita Palmer Lane.
"I am thinking that it depends on the care you receive on flight. A friend of ours had a heart attack. The insurance was billed $100,000. Insane," said Stacey Staples.
LFN does not offer special insurance policies, but they do offer memberships as a secondary to insurance carriers. The membership costs $60 per family, per year. This fee helps protect you, your spouse or domestic partner, dependents claimed on your income tax return, and even elderly or disabled family members who are living in your household from out-of-pocket expenses. LFN works directly with your insurance company. Those who are covered by Medicaid are not eligible.
An important point to remember is that emergency air medical transports are based on medical need, not membership status. The medical need can only be determined by a Physician or Emergency Medical Service provider, hospital, or other qualified third party that's recognized by Medicare.
Another valid point to remember is costs associated with air medical transport for the purpose of an organ transplant are not covered by the membership.
About a month ago 15 new Agusta Westland 119Kx helicopters were put into service at the Pocatello air base at Portneuf Medical Center. These helicopters have the ability to transport a two person critical care team and two patients with full body access. They are also able to go up to 175 MPH to provide faster transport.
This membership could not only save lives, but could also save your family's financial future. To sign up for a membership you can sign up online at lifeflight.org or, you can also mail in an application with a payment, or you can even call toll-free at 1-800-982-9299.
In the words of our fellow Facebook friend, Joe Hewlett, "What is the asking price for your life?"