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A lot is at stake since the costs of air ambulance bills can be as high as $50,000, according to a GAO report published July 2017. A lot is at stake since the costs of air ambulance bills can be as high as $50,000, according to a GAO report published July 2017. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Although air ambulances save lives, the issue of whether state laws establishing air ambulance reimbursement rates are preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) continues to be heavily litigated in federal and state courts across the country.

A lot is at stake since the costs of air ambulance bills can be as high as $50,000, according to a GAO report published July 2017.  The Association of Air Medical Services estimates that more than 550,000 patients in the U.S. use air ambulance services every year. According to the Insurance Council of Texas, the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation has more than 1,000 air ambulance disputes pending but has abated any further decisions pending the outcome of litigation in federal and state courts. The aggregated amount in dispute exceeds $35 million.

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