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Commissioners Corner

posted May 2, 2015, 10:37 AM by Julie Harter

Commissioner’s Corner: By Dave Albertson, Commissioner, Anderson Island Fire and Rescue (Dist. 27)

I am your commissioner elected last year, now in my second year of a six year term. Having had the opportunity to work with our other two Commissioners (Chairman Dale Porterfield and Commissioner Colleen Adler), our Fire Chief Jim Bixler, Assistant Chief Jay Wiggins, and admin assistant Julie Harter, and having watched our volunteers faithfully perform a variety of safety services including attendance at weekly training drills while we all watch our favorite TV shows, and breaking their legs attending to actual fires, I am very proud to be a part of this stellar team. I appreciate the trust the island residents have placed in myself and the rest of the team, and am doing my very best to live up to that trust.

What if I need an air medical transport off the island? Will it cost me $thousands if I have to be air medically transported off the island? Should I have an Airlift Northwest “AirCare” membership package?

The question has come up regarding whether an island resident should obtain an “AirCare” membership package from Airlift Northwest, in case they needed to be flown off the island for emergency medical attention. There are misconceptions. So we have reviewed the facts with Airlift Northwest and hope that the following information will help you decide whether you should have the AirCare membership package. (1 year household package - $79)

1. To purchase an Airlift AirCare membership package you must also already have your own health insurance coverage, whether your health insurance coverage is provided by your employer, personally paid by you, obtain through the State Exchange Programs (Obamacare), or Medicare and Medicare supplemental. Airlift Northwest will not sell an AirCare membership package to you without health insurance coverage that includes air medical transport benefits.

2. The purpose of the AirCare membership is to cover the patient responsibility amount indicated by the insurance company’s explanation of benefit for all emergent and medically necessary air medical transport services that are provided to the closest most appropriate facility. In some cases your own health insurance will actually cover the entire cost of the air medical transport. In such cases you do not need the AirCare membership package. For example, individuals that have health insurance with Medicaid should not apply because air medical transports are fully covered. My own Medicare and supplemental healthcare through United Health care covers me completely so I do not need the AirCare membership package.

3. In other cases it will not. Each resident should evaluate what their own health insurance will cover. For example, if you have Medicare your coverage could leave you with anywhere from $200 to $2,000 uncovered, and if you are air medically transported, your out of pocket cost will be the amount your personal coverage does not cover. In those cases an AirCare membership package could save you a lot of money should you need to be air medically transported off the island for emergency medical care. You can get the AirCare membership application at the fire station.

We have a complete 3 page Airlift NW fact sheet that you can pick up at the station if you have further questions.