The Air Ambulance Billed More Than His Surgeon Did For A Lung Transplant

November 6, 2019, KHN, Anna Almendrala - Before his double lung transplant, Tom Saputo thought he had anticipated every possible outcome. But after the surgery, he wasn’t prepared for the price of the 27-mile air ambulance flight to UCLA Medical Center - which cost more than the lifesaving operation itself. “When you look at the bills side by side, and you see that the helicopter costs more than the surgeon who does the lung transplant, it’s ridiculous,” said Dana Saputo, Tom’s wife. “I don’t think anybody would believe me if I said that and didn’t show them the evidence.” “Balance billing,” better known as surprise billing, occurs when a patient receives care from a medical provider outside of his insurance plan’s network, and then the provider bills the patient for the amount insurance didn’t cover. These bills can soar into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Click here to view the story.