Nov 8, 2019 - Health

Air ambulance prices more than doubled between 2008 and 2017

Air ambulance flying

Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images

Air ambulances' use declined between 2008 and 2017 among people with employer coverage, but the average price of a trip more than doubled, according to new data from the Health Care Cost Institute, which is funded by insurers.

Why it matters: Air ambulances are a frequent source of surprise medical bills, and often aren't covered by private insurance. These bills can be for eye-popping amounts.

Details: There are 2 types of air ambulances, airplanes and helicopters. The use of helicopter ambulances declined by 14.3%, while the use of airplanes stayed about the same.

  • The average price of a helicopter ride increased from $11,414 in 2008 to $27,894 in 2017, or 144%. The price of a plane ride rose from from $15,684 to $41,674, or 166%.
  • However, prices varied widely.

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