The average estimated allowed (in-network) amounts rose 76.4 per cent, from US$8,855 to $15,624, not including mileage costs.
The average charge from fixed-wing air ambulance transports increased 27.6 perr cent, from $19,2109 to $24,507, while the average Medicare reimbursements rose 4.7 per cent, from $3,071 to $3,216.
The top diagnoses associated with fixed-wing air ambulance rides from 2016 to 2020, as identified by ambulance providers, were, from most to least common:
- digestive system issues
- heart attacks
- sprains, strains, breaks and fractures
- chronic respiratory diseases
- general signs and symptoms involving the circulatory and respiratory systems
The top diagnoses linked to rotary-wing air ambulance rides from 2016 to 2020 were cerebrovascular issues and diseases, heart attack, head injury, injury to body, and stroke.
Alaska and Wyoming use air ambulances most often
Along with the costs linked to those services, FAIR Health examined the states that were using the highest volumes of air ambulance services. The states with the highest use of fixed-wing air ambulance transport as a percentage of all medical claim lines in 2020 were Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico. The states with the highest use of rotary-wing air ambulance transports were Idaho, South Dakota, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
In emergencies between 2016-2020, patients transported by air ambulance were much more likely to be admitted as inpatients to a hospital than patients transported by ground ambulance, the analysis found.