Pottstown woman says she got helicopter bill for over $40,000

- A local woman is thankful to be alive after a big health scare a few months ago, but she has just learned it's coming at an extremely high price. One that's more than $40,000. 

FOX 29's Jeff Cole has the story.

It started with a soreness in her neck and turned into dizziness.

By the time 35-year-old Allison Bevan, of Pottstown, arrived at Pottstown Hospital on October 18 she was in the grips of a full-out stroke.

A doctor from Philadelphia's Jefferson Hospital—examining her via computer link—was shouting instructions.

"Basically, he's pretty much yelling, 'Get her here now,'" she said.

Bevan was wheeled to Pottstown Hospital's helipad where a helicopter—painted in black with "Jeff" emblazoned on the side—whisked her into the air for the short ride to Jefferson.

"At some point, I realize I'm being flown. Always wanted to ride a helicopter, but not in this way," she said.

Several days of treatment later, Bevan was released and remained home recovering until returning to work in sales in the New Year. Things were looking up until the helicopter bill arrived.

"My patient responsibility will be $44,000," she said.

The bill was from Native Air, also known as Air Methods, which is a Colorado-based company active nationally in the medical transport business. Jefferson says it partners with Air Methods and told FOX 29 to speak with them about the bill.  

Its full bill was actually $51,000; however, Bevan's insurance company—a national company with a Texas office—covered just over $6,600 for the ride.

Arguing it is "...very costly to operate an emergency air medical base...", a spokesperson for Air Methods writes insurance companies should:  "...do what's right and pay their members' claims in full..."  Adding since December:  "...we've been proactively helping her navigate the billing process so she can focus on her recovery."

Bevan says she's only spoken to Air Methods once and is uncertain just what they're doing for her.

FOX 29 is awaiting response from Bevan's insurance company, but she says they've told her the helicopter ride was: "..out of network..." and there's only a: "...certain amount they'll pay..."

Meanwhile, Allison Bevan fears the big bill could financially ruin her.

"I'm glad I'm alive. I'm thankful to everyone. But how am I supposed to take care of the medical bills after the fact with all this—tough," she said.

Bevan's insurer writes: "because many air providers choose not to contract with insurers for "in-network-rates", there are no limits on what they can charge. The insurer says it pays more than twice what the federal-insurance program--Medicare--pays..



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