Boca Raton, FL – NCCI recently released a “What’s Trending” brief in their Insights section that examines the costs of medical transportation in the workers comp system.
NCCI notes that the cost of ambulance services has risen in recent years—a single trip can exceed $45,000 for an air ambulance service and $1,400 for a ground ambulance service. Medical transportation in workers compensation (WC), however, can take many different forms. These include air ambulances, emergency and nonemergency ground ambulances, nonemergency transportation to and from medical appointments, mileage reimbursement for instances where the injured worker can drive themselves, and other ancillary transportation-related services.
Recently, air ambulance services and their associated costs have garnered attention. The US Congress, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and several state governments and related stakeholders have explored issues surrounding the cost of air ambulance services. In response, several states, as well as the US Congress, have introduced legislation aimed at addressing these concerns.
In the WC arena, much of the discussion has centered around a state’s ability to regulate air ambulance reimbursement rates. Some states have fee schedules that encompass air ambulance services, which are intended to regulate WC maximum allowable reimbursements (MARs). However, the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) expressly preempts state law “related to price, route, or service of an air carrier.” The question of which law governs fee schedule limitations on air ambulance reimbursement has led to legal challenges in several states. So far, state and federal courts have largely found that the ADA preempts state WC laws and regulations limiting air ambulance reimbursements.
Read the full brief here: NCCI Insights: Medical Transportation Costs in Workers’ Compensation