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Medevac helicopter rides can push people into bankruptcy

Any New Jersey resident who has been involved in a serious accident or suffered from a medical emergency knows how high the medical bills and other expenses can get. Many of those people have filed bankruptcy in order to be free from the overwhelming amount of health care expenses -- even if they had medical insurance. The cost of a medevac helicopter alone can be overwhelming.

For example, a heart attack victim in one state was flown 85 miles to a hospital that saved her life. When she received the bill for the flight, she was flabbergasted. The total cost of the flight was $46,800, and her portion of the bill is almost $39,000. That does not count any medical care she received at her destination.

Another woman reported that her teenage daughter's tonsillectomy did not go as planned. The complications necessitated that she be transferred to another hospital, which was done via helicopter. The mother says that the surgery cost approximately $16,000, but the helicopter ride cost nearly $35,000 for a 37 mile trip.

At present, the ground and air ambulance industries set their own prices, which are obviously quite high. Nearly 400,000 people a year in the United States are transported to medical facilities by medevac helicopters. Numerous lives are saved, but at a high financial cost.

New Jersey residents are aware of the high cost of medical care. Anyone who has ever been flown to a hospital understands what it is like to receive bills indicating that they owe thousands of dollars. Many people file bankruptcy in order to discharge medical debt that they are simply unable to pay.

Source: ABC News, "Sky-Rage: Bills, Debt, Lawsuits Follow Helicopter Medevac Trips", Cindy Galli, Stephanie Zimmermann and Brian Ross, March 16, 2016

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