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life flight

Does Medicare Cover Life Flight?

In emergency situations, we often need specialized transportation to bring us to a medical facility. And in some cases ground transportation won’t work. Instead there’s a need for a helicopter or a plane to transport someone to a hospital.

This is where Life Flight comes in handy. Life Flight is an air ambulance service that provides transportation to an ill or injured person.

Life Flight is a membership program. But if you need to use the service, the prices can be high. Which brings up the question “does Medicare cover Life Flight?” We answer this question below and also look at the costs of Life Flight.

Does Medicare Cover Life Flight?

The short answer is probably not. But read on because there are situations where Medicare could cover at least some of the costs of Life Flight.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part B) covers medical transportation, such as ambulances, in the case of an emergency. But because Life Flight is a private membership program, Medicare does not pay for the membership program or any other related fees.

That said, in emergency situations, Medicare will help cover the costs of transportation, including air transport. So if you are a Life Flight member and get transported by the service due to a medical necessity, Medicare may pay at least some of the costs. The remaining portions would then be submitted to Life Flight for coverage consideration.

Only If Ground Transportation Is Not an Option

It’s also important to know about a situation like this: Let’s say, in an emergency, you take air transport. However, ground transportation was available and was a legitimate option for you. In this case, your claim is likely to be denied by Medicare.

Medical Treatment Coverage

There is also the question of any medical treatment you may need while being transported by an ambulance or plane/helicopter. Sometimes this is included in the cost of the transport. Sometimes not.

If there are additional costs, Medicare Part B may cover some of the expenses during this kind of event. But this depends on your particular situation.

Medicare Advantage Coverage

Enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan? Then your plan may cover air transport like Life Flight. You’ll want to first contact your plan to find out if they offer additional coverage for Life Flight services and programs.

How Much Does Life Flight Cost?

Without insurance coverage or additional membership in an air ambulance organization, Life Flight can cost between $12,000 to $25,000.

About the Life Flight Network

Life Flight Network membership costs as low as $69 per year. Other major air ambulance insurance providers have different prices.

In the Northwest, there are four major air ambulance insurances, including Life Flight. Guardian Flight, Med-Trans, and Reach Air. All cost $85.

In the Southwest, there are 5, including Reach Air, Guardian Flight, and Med-Trans. Air Methods Advantage costs $40, and Air Evac Lifeteam (Texas and Oklahoma). These cost $85.

There are also 5 in the Midwest including Air Methods Advantage, Air Evac Lifeteam, Guardian Flight, and Med-Trans. Life Flight Eagle costs $59.

There are 3, which are Air Methods, Air Evac Lifeteam, and Med-Trans in the Northeast.

Hawaii and Alaska have Guardian Flight, which costs AK$125 and HI$85.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may impact what gets covered and what doesn’t. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what is and isn’t covered by your plan.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Depends?

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