Issues | Air Ambulance
I, like many of you, received a letter from AirMedCare Network stating that my own coverage would not be renewed when it expires because they had chosen not to comply with the new regulations passed in 2019. I was disappointed that this happened. There could have been a much different outcome had the companies raised concerns prior to April 1, 2019 or even January 2020.
Let’s review a little history. In 2019, the Wyoming Legislature passed House Bill 194, Air Ambulance Coverage- Medicaid. I voted for this along with 33 of my fellow Republicans. It had several components. One was a provision that allowed companies to offer subscription or membership plans relating to air ambulance transport services but only after they met basic Department of Insurance standards just like other companies do. This required they pay a $250 annual fee. These are basic consumer protection requirements so folks can be confident they will get what they are paying for.
I met with the Wyoming Insurance Commissioner and he explained that most air ambulance providers were well aware of this change as they and their attorneys participated throughout the legislative process. In fact, it was in part at their request that the 2019 legislation include the delayed implementation date of April 1, 2020 instead of July 1, 2019. This provided more than a year for interested companies to work with the Department of Insurance to come into compliance. Additionally, earlier this year, the Insurance Department sent out reminder notices to the companies about the new requirements. Finally, during the 2020 legislative session no one, including air ambulance companies, raised any concerns with the law that would soon be coming into effect. However, none of the services (except MASA Air Assist) chose to comply with the bill - even though they had extra time to do so.
That brings us to where we find ourselves today. The law has changed. It allows subscription or membership plans relating to air ambulance transport services in Wyoming if they choose to meet basic Department of Insurance standards, which are followed by others and are designed protect consumers. To date one company, MASA Assist, has chosen to provide Wyoming citizens this important healthcare option. There is a path for all other companies to take to provide services for Wyoming although companies are unwilling to take it.
What Now? I am working with my fellow Republicans, many of whom voted with me, on a solution that would allow AirMedCare Network to continue their membership service. However, there is nothing that can be done immediately since this takes legislative action and we are currently not in session. This means that it will be next year before this can be changed.