Family Sued For Cost Of Air Ambulance Trip

By: Janet Kim Email
By: Janet Kim Email

David and Laura Strickland say they are being sued after flying to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital in an attempt to save their son.

Their son, Aiden, would have been just over 13-weeks-old. He only lived 26 hours before he died. He had a rare heart condition.

When Laura went into labor three weeks early, she says doctors told her the only option was to get to the Cincinnati Hospital fast, so doctors could immediately treat Aiden when he was born.

The attempt didn't save their son, and the Stricklands say they still continued to get heartbreaking news.

The Stricklands say LifeNet told them to pay nearly $17,000 for that helicopter ride. They say their insurance policy would only pay $300 for transportation.

The attorney for the collections agency and the Strickland's health care provider, Anthem Insurance, could not comment at this time.

The Stricklands have since been contacted by LifeNet, the helicopter provider, to discuss the matter.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Cindy Location: Sandy, UT on Dec 17, 2008 at 03:27 AM
    Always remember to ask for the "non-insurance cash price". All Doctors, labs, etc jack up their rates for insurance companies, knowing they will only be reimbursed a fraction. If the life flight charges anything like doctors and labs, they jacked up their charges by 50-80%, hoping the insurance company would pay much more than the $300 they did. So the family should ask what the "non-insurance" price is. It could reduce the charge by half or more. Most people don't know to do this. This is why I have a regular Major Med policy but dont use the benefits at the doctor or for labs or drugs. I can get those services much cheaper than I can by running it thru insurance, and paying a huge deductible. Instead those charges are less than HALF what they would charge people with insurance I will only use the major med policy for a catastrophic hospital stay. Then just pay my deductible at that time....
  • by John Location: Louisville on Oct 30, 2008 at 03:47 PM
    I am selfemployed and pay almost $1000/month for coverage for my wife and I with $1,000 deductibles. When we in America want or need healthcare we want a Rolls Royce. When it comes time to pay, we want a Kia. Americans have to decide, is health care a right or a proviledge? who pays? The governement, our employers, or us? Where does the money come from?
  • by John Location: Louisville on Oct 30, 2008 at 03:43 PM
    Secondly, if you work for a very large company, you have just met your insurance enemy and it is them.Most people don't realize that very large employers are self-insured meaning the pay the bills for health care not the insurance company.They will contract with an Anthem or others to provide services such as claims processing, etc., and it looks as if you have Anthem, but it is really your employer's money.As far as socialized medicine is concerned, be careful what you wish for.Ask any person in England over age 65 with kidney problems about getting on a transplant list.Not going to happen.This socialized medicine society has deemed it not in the greater goods interest to pay for this due to age.They can just continue on dialysis.Talk to a Canadian about diagnostic services.Why do so many cross the border to be seen by a physician in the US for diagnostic testing?Because they may have to wait for months to get in to the governemnt sponsored or run clinics. continued
  • by John Location: Louisville on Oct 30, 2008 at 03:35 PM
    My condolences to the family. The loss of this child is one of three very sad things I see in all these postings. The second is the pricing of the Helo Fee and the third is the complete lack of knowledge that most people seem to have about their health care system. It seems most people do not have a clue about how health care gets reimbursed or how they really get the health insurance plans they have (if employed). First off, if you are employed and they offer health coverage, those health plans you dislike were purchased by your company and the coverage was based on what your employer wanted or could afford to offer. Remember they still pay in the are of 50 to 80% of the total premium, not you. Your company chose from a list or ir large enough customized the plans with the various carriers. (To be continued)
  • by kyemt on Oct 27, 2008 at 11:56 PM
    People really need to look at the subscription service for the air ambulances. PHI and Air Evac offer these and they can really save a lot of money to the patients/and their families if they have to use air ambulance services.
  • by Crissy Location: Lexington on Oct 27, 2008 at 06:22 PM
    I agree that this is very sad and feel for them in the loss of their child. As for this LifeNet helicopter service, this is just sad on your part, I understand you need payment but could you have set up a payment option for this young couple. I know the UK helicopter has a insurance type plan that covers the bill in full and with no hassle or fine print. Our 16 year old child was in a wreck and had to be life flighted to UK, we paid $0. I also agree with Don from Hazard on Oct 17, 2008 at 10:38 AM. Insurance companys should not be allowed to deny coverage as much as they do. I realize some things are just out there but Anthem should held to pay the 80% on this claim. This was justified. GOD BLESS THIS FAMILY
  • by John Location: Richmond on Oct 26, 2008 at 08:14 PM
    Mark, no, most people probably cannot afford at 17k bill up front. That's why most hospitals and other places will work out payment plans and/or reduce the cost if insurance doesn't cover it. Yes, most healthcare facilities are for-profit. That's the system we have created. In order to have new drugs, new technologies, etc., there has to be some incentive which is $$$. I feel for the family but if people don't pay their bills than these companies will close up shop and then everyone suffers. I'd be curious to know if the child really needed a helicopter. For the most part, they are way overused and unnecessary. We don't need 22 or however many medical helicopters as there are in this state. There is very little evidence that they save lives. Lately it seems like they're taking more lives than they're saving.
  • by Mark Location: Kentucky on Oct 26, 2008 at 06:15 PM
    What is sad is that the family has to pay all that money. It is a shame but if it was my child they can come and take everything away from me, I'll live under a bridge if necessary. And it is not a matter of "being lazy", I am a paramedic and can not afford a bill like that..Can you? So I guess in the country number one in the world many will die due to a few getting MULTI-millionaire. Don't get confused, healthcare in this country is a bussiness, a way to make money..What a shame!!
  • by John Location: Richmond on Oct 25, 2008 at 04:02 PM
    Health care provider, exactly. While the healthcare industry needs some major restructuring, the consumer/patient has to take some responsibility. In some of the "socialized" countries, helicopter transportation would never have been considered due to the benefit vs. cost issue. In order to have the maintain the level of service that hospitals, doctors, etc. provide, the money has to come from somewhere and it isn't the government. Those of us who work for a living are left making up for those too lazy to do so. It's not fair and something's gotta give. Unfortunately, neither presidential candidate has the answer.
  • by Anonymous Location: Ky on Oct 25, 2008 at 11:17 AM
    My question is: If the child lived, would this still be a story? Wouldn't it have been worth the price? It is for many who have received transport both by ground and by air. Second, costs are high because many people don't pay healthcare costs. If everyone paid their bills, costs would be lower. All healthcare is expensive, not just in Kentucky. I do feel that it was a poor choice to send this to collections. I'm sorry for the loss of a child...

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