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Air ambulances' sky-high prices

Air ambulance
Patient getting evacuated in a medical helicopter. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

Air ambulances can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and often don't provide an explanation of why they're medically necessary when there are ground options available, CNN reports.

By the numbers: Almost 50 million Americans didn't live within an hour of a level 1 or 2 trauma center as of 2005, and rural hospitals have closed in droves since then. Air ambulances have filled that gap, growing dramatically just in the past few years. Their price tags keep growing, too — the median cost of an airlift is now about $30,000, per CNN.

Go deeper: Why ending surprise medical bills is harder than it looks

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