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Insurance Company Sued By Air Ambulance Service

Air Evac EMS Sues To Collect Over $3.5 Million In Unpaid Bills

Air Evac EMS, one of the nation's largest air ambulance services, had filed a lawsuit against Medical Mutual in Ohio over $3.5 million in what the company says are unpaid bills for medical transportation.

In its complaint, the company says the insurer has engaged in a "scheme" to "systematically and unilaterally underpay" for provided services.

The insurance company has filed a countersuit claiming it has no contract with Air Evac EMS, and that the air ambulance company charges "exorbitant" fees for its services.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Air Evac EMS has 125 bases nationwide, and operates from six bases in Ohio. It justifies its fees based on the cost of acquiring and operating medical helicopters and providing transportation services. The average charge for air transportation in 2014 was more than $20,000, according to the complaint.

The company says the insurer unilaterally discounts what it pays for transportation services from Air Evac by 65 percent, and it has not made adequate payments on over 291 claims over the past two years totally $3.5 million.

Medical Mutual says it has no contract with the air ambulance company and is under no obligation to pay the fees. It also says that federal laws prevent Air Evac from using Ohio laws in an attempt to collect the fees, because the federal Airline Deregulation Act "expressly prohibits the enforcement of a state law that is 'related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier.'"

Air Evac's complaint was filed in Cuyahoga County late in 2015. Medical Mutual's countersuit was filed in U.S. District Court.

(Image from file)

FMI: http://coc.cuyahogacounty.us, www.ohnd.uscourts.gov

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