Feds Reject Wyoming Proposal To Reduce Air Ambulance Cost

Jan 21, 2020

Credit Public Domain

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected a proposal that would have lowered air ambulance cost for Wyomingites.

Air ambulance flights in the state can cost as much as $49,000. Kim Deti, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health, said access around the state is uneven. She said the department's proposal was meant to address that.

"[It's] a very specialized and limited expansion of Medicaid to cover air ambulance services to treat it really, as a necessity that it is in Wyoming. There have been concerns about costs and who pays," she said.

The proposal would have treated air ambulance flights as a public utility, which would have allowed companies to bid to become the state's preferred ambulance company. The federal government rejected the proposal on the grounds that it didn't align with Medicaid values and would cost the government too much.

But Deti said they aren't giving up.

"What we're doing now is examining that situation, and then we'll review the options that we may or may not have for next steps here in Wyoming," said Deti. "We will work together with policymakers, which includes, of course, the governor's office, perhaps legislative leaders, before we decide our many next steps."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.