A Community Website by Lopez Island
Air Medivac Services (Transportation)
Lopez Island
August 8, 2017
Posted by David Champion, Lopez Island

I've belonged to AirLift Northwest for several years and recently learned that Island Air Ambulance in Friday Harbor offers a similar program, using airplanes rather than helicopters. A friend suggested that I should belong to both services, because sometimes the airplanes can fly when helicopters can't. I don't know if this is true or not, and admit I'm a little skeptical.

I understand that I would be medivaced off the island if necessary regardless of whether I belong to either program, and that this is only about the cost to me. It does seem financially prudent to have a backup to Airlift NW if they were unavailable for any reason.

Because air medivac must be requested by EMT's or a doctor, I'd like to pose this question to our EMT's and the Clinic:

Should a resident of Lopez belong to both programs?

I'm asking it here so that the whole community cabn benefit from the response.


Comment

Agree
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Janis Miltenberger: Air Medivac Services

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Medicare does not cover the full cost of medical air transport, I believe it depends on which medicare plan you have but plan A and B leaves you covering 20% of the flight cost.
Janis Miltenberger: Air Medivac Services

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John,

I would check directly with both IAA and ALNW, but I do not believe they offer coverage for ancillary costs, such as transport from the aircraft to the hospital. Usually other transportation is another entity entirely and that is billed.... Read all
John Waugh: Air Medivac Services

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Thanks for the info Nicole. Does IAA or ALNW typically cover ancillary services to the airlift when ones insurance does not? For example, I've heard of folks being charged several hundred dollars just getting them from the helicopter, on the ground,.... Read all
Nicole O'Bryant: Air Medivac Services

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John raises a great point.

Many, if not most, insurance plans include medevac services. For some, paying extra for membership to IAA and/or ALNW will provide no financial advantage.

Make sure to clarify the fine print with your carrier.... Read all
John Waugh: Air Medivac Services

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Great question David. I used to be an Airlift Northwest subscriber, but then discovered my insurance would cover air medi-vac anyway. And Medicare will cover it too, so worth checking.
From Medicareinteractive.org:
_____
Medicare will cover.... Read all
Janis Miltenberger: Air Medivac Services

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Airlift can accommodate larger patients with their fixed wing plane. Not sure exactly what the difference but their fixed wing can take more weight. Weight is always an issue in the air...
Janis Miltenberger: Air Medivac Services

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Good question David. I am a Lopez EMT but I also work for Island Air Ambulance as a flight EMT. I am just going to echo Nicole's comment with an added twist. Island Air is a local entity, they pay local taxes within our county and hire the local.... Read all
David Champion: Air Medivac Services

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Thanks, Nicole, for confirming what I already suspected - the prudent thing is to join both services.
Nicole O'Bryant: Air Medivac Services

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As an EMT, I strongly suggest that you purchase a membership to both ALNW and Island Air Ambulance (IAA).

There are situations when fixed-wing can fly but a helicopter cannot, and vice versa. Cloud-ceiling, icing, and winds are all factors that.... Read all
Mike Allen: Air Medivac Services

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Airlift NW operates both Fixed and Rotary wing aircraft.