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Patient Transport via Helicopter Cost Increases 233 Percent in Travis County

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STAR Flight emergency helicopter rides will increase in cost by 233 percent starting this August in Austin. Bills will only be issued when someone is transported to the hospital for an illness or injury at “a base rate of $15,000 and $200 per mile.” According to KXAN, the shift in price is due to a new reimbursement plan that will ask more from patient’s insurance company. If someone is uninsured, they will only be required to pay if they receive a settlement from their illness/accident.

Officials say the new pricing is more in line with the rest of the state and the current market rate. Josh Davies, County Executive of Emergency Services, says, “It’s not likely that we will ever be able to receive a reimbursement that will cover the actual cost of services provided by STAR Flight. Adjusting our costs – and seeking full insurance payments – will help decrease the impact on the county General Fund.”

According to the Travis County website, STAR Flight provides emergency flights 24/7 for anyone needing medical transport or water rescue. They also assist in search and rescue efforts, fire suppression, and back-up for law enforcement using their AirBus EC 145 helicopters and UH-1H Huey.