Popular medical helicopter company cutting costs for patients

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MT. STERLING, Ky. (WKYT) - A popular air medical helicopter company believes they have the answer to lowering the cost for patients who need emergency care.

Air Methods partnering with insurance providers to lower costs to patients. (WKYT)

In the past, bills for most medical flights, from any company, could be as high as $20,000 to $30,000.

In 2016, WKYT reported on the rise of medical flights as rural hospitals closed.

A woman said she was angry after her son was transported by an air ambulance for a broken bone. She was later hit with a bill for thousands of dollars she had to pay out of pocket.

"The fear is that people are opting not to be transferred because of the higher cost when really what they need is to be flown," explained Air Methods Spokesperson Brian Johnson.

Air Methods decided to change their focus to patient advocacy and attract more insurance providers to help lower the overall cost.

"We've been able to drive the out of pocket cost down for Kentucky to around $300. So that's what someone is going to pay out of pocket on average for a transport in Kentucky," said Johnson.

Not only is Air Methods partnering with insurance providers to lower costs, but they are also refunding people who bought memberships to Air Methods, which didn't end up being a deal for anyone.

"The thought process behind the membership was to prevent a balance bill to the patient," said Johnson.

Air Methods has five bases in Kentucky. They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.