Transportation to a medical facility is a routine errand for most, but emergency medical situations usually call for specialized transport. This may be the case when someone is injured or seriously ill and is not able to drive themselves to a medical treatment facility. Emergency medical transportation may also be needed when a treatment facility does not have the staff or equipment available to treat an injury or illness and the patient requires transportation to another facility. In these situations, someone may need to rely on transport by helicopter or airplane in order to reach far-away destinations quickly. To do this, many people rely on services like Life Flight.

What is Life Flight?
Life Flight is a service that charges a membership fee for enrollment, and based on the member’s plan, he or she will be able to receive air transport utilizing a network of providers in the event of a medical emergency. Life Flight is secondary to insurance, and coverage is only offered for participating providers. Life Flight does offer a membership option that also includes ground transportation for medical emergencies, but once again, this coverage only applies to providers who are a part of the Life Flight network.

Does Medicare Cover Life Flight?
Medicare Part B may help cover ambulatory transport to a medical facility in the event of an emergency. Life Flight is a private membership program, so Medicare does not cover the cost of membership and associated fees. Medicare may, however, pay for air transport if deemed medically necessary, and portions that are not covered by Medicare would then be billed to Life Flight for coverage consideration if you are already a member.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have additional benefits beyond those included in Part A and Part B. Contact your plan directly to find out if they offer any additional coverage or discounts on membership in certain programs like Life Flight.

If deemed medically necessary to preserve life, Medicare may help cover the cost of air transport, but if a ground transportation option is available and viable, but is not utilized, Medicare may deny the claim.  If you live in a remote area or if your local medical facilities do not provide a wide range of advanced services, air transport may be more likely to be required in the case of an emergency. Plan ahead and understand the costs involved so you can determine what coverage will meet your specific needs.

Does Medicare Cover Medical Treatment During Transport?
While being transported, whether by air or ground, you may require medical treatment to stabilize your condition. These services are typically included in the billing for the transport, but this may not always be the case. When a severe injury or illness requires the use of advanced medical technology or when certain medications are administered, there may be additional costs associated. Part B may provide coverage, but this can vary based on the specific circumstances.

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