Senate bill seeks to control costs for airlifted trauma victims

By Cole Grant/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – Sonia Mosolic-Andrews of Butte says when her husband was transported by air ambulance from Anaconda to Seattle, she never thought to ask whether the air service was in her husband’s insurance network. It was not.

“I get it, competition’s good. Supply and demand,” Mosolic-Andrews said. “Well that might work when you’re booking a flight to Hawaii, but not when you’re praying over your husband’s sedated body.”

Mosolic-Andrews testified at the Montana Legislature Tuesday in support of Senate Bill 44. It aims to get rid of the customer’s responsibility in paying above their out-of-pocket limit when faced with out-of-network air ambulance charges.

Bill Lombardi of Blue Cross Blue Shield says the bill will have some unintended consequences.

“It will increase consumer costs, and reward some for-profit companies for price gouging Montanans at the time of their greatest need,” Lombardi said.

The committee did not vote on the bill.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.