MEDFORD, Ore. — Whether you’re a member of Mercy Flights or not, calling 911 for an ambulance in 2014 will cost you more.
Jackson County residents will see an increase because of cost of living and Mercy Flights members will see an increase because of new insurance plans written to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
Each year Mercy Flights adjusts for cost of living as determined by Medicare. This month marks a 1.8% spike in the bill for a ground ambulance ride. Membership fees are increasing as well this year.
The insurance plans written to meet the Affordable Care Act requirements aren’t paying as much anymore and the yearly membership fees normally offset what the insurance wouldn’t cover.
So, with the increase it would now cost a family $80 a year for the membership with Mercy Flights, as opposed to the last ten years paying $70.
“The membership entitles a person to whatever their bill would be, if we receive payment from an insurance company, then their membership basically has covered their responsibility for co-pays and deductibles so they will have no more out of pocket costs,” explained Mercy Flights CEO Ken Parsons
Medicare requires that membership programs be fiscally sound, meaning it has to bring in more money than is written off or else it’s considered a kickback or appears as a discount for choosing Mercy Flights, which is illegal. So, the CEO says this increase is preventing that imbalance.
Mercy Flights has about 16,000 members right now spanning across nine counties, but anytime you call 911 for ground ambulance transport, mercy flights responds.