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New law protects consumers from massive air ambulance bills

A new law designed to protect consumers from massive air ambulance bills took effect in North Dakota on Monday.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread says air ambulance service can be a frequent mode of transportation of patients to emergency medical care in rural states - but many patients are then sent outrageous bills for that service. He says consumers in North Dakota have reported bills totaling anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000. Godfread says now every health insurance plan sold in North Dakota is required to protect its consumers from these bills.

"This is an issue between our insurance companies, air ambulance providers and the Insurance Department - and we can work that through together on behalf of the consumer. But it really shouldn't be left in the lap of the consumer who is coming off an emergency situation and now facing a $60,000 bill on the back end of that - that's not fair to the consumer, and frankly they didn't have a choice in this matter. They didn't choose their ambulance provider, they didn't choose the route they were going to take.  So through no fault of their own, they've been facing these unreasonable bills."

Godfread says if a patient does receive an air ambulance bill, they should contact their insurance provider or the North Dakota Insurance Department.

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