Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance Cost

How Much Does an Air Ambulance Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: $50-$500+high costWithout Health Insurance: $2,000-$200,000

An air ambulance is a specially equipped and staffed helicopter or airplane that performs emergency or scheduled transports. They are commonly used for medical evacuations, or medevac.

Typical costs:

  • Air ambulance service typically is covered by health insurance in certain types of emergencies or if a doctor certifies that air transport is medically necessary, and if a patient is going to the nearest appropriate facility. If transport is being done for convenience, such as to relocate nearer to family, it might not be covered. For example, BlueCross Blue Shield of Alabama[1] covers air transport on many of its policies, including transportation to a hospital near home for patients injured or hospitalized more than 200 miles from home. For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of less than $50 to $500 or more, or coinsurance of 10 % to 50% or more for a total that could reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum.
  • For patients without health insurance, the cost of air ambulance service typically depends on: the current cost of jet fuel, the type of aircraft used, the distance flown and the type of medical staff required. The total can be less than $2,000 for a short flight to almost $50,000 for a longer domestic flight to $200,000 or more for an international flight. For example, Air Ambulance 1[2] charges about $2,500 for a 55-mile flight on a twin-engine propeller plane, staffed by paramedics, from Saint Joseph, MO, to Kansas City, MO. Air Ambulance 1 charges about $25,000 for a flight on a light jet, staffed by paramedics, from Kansas City to Los Angeles. National Air Ambulance charges about $37,400 for a flight from New York to California staffed by a nurse and paramedic. For a flight from Arizona to Australia, Air Ambulance 1 charges about $155,000 on a light jet, if staffed by paramedics (about $160,000 if staffed by a doctor and nurse) or about $177,000 on a mid-sized jet (about $182,000 if staffed by a doctor and nurse).
Related articles: Emergency Room Visit, Ambulance, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • If planned in advance, an air ambulance service should include a pre-flight medical evaluation and consultation with the patient's physician to determine the equipment and care needed during the flight.
  • The flight typically takes place on a helicopter, a propeller plane, or a jet that is equipped with a flight stretcher and advanced life-support equipment, including oxygen, a ventilator, monitors, a defibrillator, IV equipment and other medical supplies. Typically, at least one family member may accompany the patient at no extra charge.
Additional costs:
  • Some companies do not include ground ambulance transport from the current facility to the aircraft and from the landing location to the new facility.
  • Arranging an air ambulance flight through a broker can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the final cost due to commissions paid to the broker. Or, a service such as provides price quotes from various companies for free.
  • Many air ambulance services offer discounts to patients who are flexible; most commonly, if one patient is flying from one city to another, and another is flying back to the city of origin, both patients can be offered discounts of 30% or more.
  • For fairly stable patients, a specially trained medical escort, usually a paramedic or nurse, can accompany the patient on a commercial flight for a fraction of the cost of an air ambulance.[3] lists organizations that help patients in need secure air ambulance service at a reduced cost.
Shopping for an air ambulance:
  • The Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, a non-profit organization that offers a voluntary evaluation and accreditation program and has consulted with some states about safety and quality standards, offers a state-by-state list of providers accredited by their organization. If an insurance company is covering the cost, they probably will secure the provider.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the flight aspect of air ambulance services, but there is no federal oversight of the medical component, which typically is regulated by state health departments. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[4] offers a state health department locator, so check with the state where the patient is being picked up to determine requirements and verify licensing of the provider.
  • Ask what accreditation and/or licensing the provider has, what kind of training and licensing their medical personnel have, how many and what type of medical personnel will be on the flight, what kind of aircraft will be used, whether the aircraft is pressurized, and what kind of equipment is onboard. offers a guide to choosing an air ambulance service.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
post Post   Comments (64)  
CostHelper News

7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts

What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

Page 3 of 3   -   << Previous   1   2   3   

Amount: $72,000.00
Posted by: Wizie in Santa Maria, CA.Posted: January 31st, 2022 03:01PM
Type of Aircraft: HELICOPTERMedical Personnel: regular EMT\'s
We weren't buying the helicopter! They charged my son $75,000 for the cost of the air ambulance for a 10-15 min flight. He just turned 18 and was still in Highschool. Such a ridiculous amount and he received only bandages on his head. That's it. He didn't even need the airlift after all was said and done. Crazy!
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
No way to pay
Amount: $91,616.68
Posted by: Stacey W in Ellensburg, WA.Posted: July 23rd, 2021 01:07PM
Type of Aircraft: helicopterMedical Personnel: EMT and nurse
Adrenal insufficiency in Northern CA. Helicopter flight from Clear Lake to San Francisco airport (125miles).
91,616.68 is just the bill from the Helicopter. Doesn't include ambulance ride to hospital from airport. Haven't even seen the ER bill or the 4 days in pediatric unit.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
You will not believe this!
Amount: $75,000.00
Posted by: Paul Polito in Tucson, AZ.Posted: June 11th, 2021 08:06AM
Type of Aircraft: Small HelicopterMedical Personnel: 2
Non emergency flight from Tucson to Phoenix this was 2021 I could have flown around the world several times what a 130 miles was these people need to go to jail for fraud and theft!
I will never pay the huge bill chapter 7 only costs $2500.00 $75,000.00 suckit!
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Phi air medical
Amount: $50,009.00
Posted by: Heartbroken in Cleveland, OH.Posted: April 19th, 2021 08:04AM
Type of Aircraft: UnknownMedical Personnel: Unknown
My husband was put on a ventilator due to covid and air lifted 10 miles to main compass of hospital. He passed away 7 days later. I lost his income, insurance and my best friend. Insurance paid $10,000 of bill left me with $40,009.00. I asked for a break down of the bill they sent me base rate $40,874.00 and $9,135.00. I’m in fixed income if SSI. $40,000 I need to to survive the rest of my life. Air ambulances have risen 127% in past few years. I expected a $10,000 bill that insurance would have covered I am so heartbroken and sad that they can charge this astronomical amount and get away with it
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air Ambulance
Amount: $68,013.00
Posted by: lizandro miramontes in San Diego, CA.Posted: September 27th, 2020 08:09AM
Type of Aircraft: HlicopterMedical Personnel: Unknown
Wife Had Cardiac Arrest, ambulance from home to 40 mi air flight
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air Ambulance in Houston
Amount: $42,000.00
Posted by: LBaker in Needville / Houston, TX.Posted: August 19th, 2020 01:08PM
Type of Aircraft: helicopterMedical Personnel: EMS
I was in a car accident and unconscious.. the police officer made the call to get air ambulance because he thought I was worse off than I was... broken femur and 2 other minor breaks. Took me about 45 miles to trauma hospital & I didn't really need to be air lifted and had no choice in the matter. BCBS / ACA plan paid approx 10K of it leaving a $32K bill . My lawyers are trying to get them to write off or take a small payoff...
Over a year now and no settlement with them yet. Company was PHC in Dallas
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Your Recent Experience with Us
Amount: $53,549.00
Posted by: Michelle P. in Houston, TX.Posted: September 11th, 2019 04:09PM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel:
60 minute air lift cost $53490.00. Unfortunately did no good because my husband still died. No insurance and no way of paying. These companies should be criminalized, this is price gouging at its finest. Had I know the cost beforehand I would have never let them take him.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air Ambulance
Amount: $48,500.00
Posted by: Trapped consummer in Syracuse, WY.Posted: July 22nd, 2019 09:07AM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: Flight nurse
I had a stroke on 4/1/19 in Lowville NY. I was flown from Lowville to Upstate Syracuse NY. I had just received a bill of over $48,000 !!!!. My commercial insurance Cigna paid 11,529.22. I was balanced billed for $37,176.78. And I was offered a "Deal": pay at least $100 a month for a total of $12,823.78.
Is there an industry reasonable amount (An average, or median charge) that I can point to?
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Medical industrial complex
Amount: $100,000.00
Posted by: Gage ashbaugh in Sabattus, NH.Posted: June 9th, 2019 09:06PM
Type of Aircraft: Paper airplaneMedical Personnel:
I am sorry for all of your stories. Please note the medical I industry eclipses all other with trillions per year accounting for what they extort from honest hard working people. The whole system is perverse and degenerate. Money in treatment
Not prevention. We are seen as a resource to be exploited. they can shove their Inflated Bill right up their arse. To hell with being threatened with bad credit reporting. Credit is an enslavement tool. I have no use for this system.
The jig is up and folks have had enough.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
PHI Air Medical
Amount: $36,000.00
Posted by: George F in Haymarket, VA.Posted: May 28th, 2019 12:05PM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: 2 medical
I had a stroke and ER I was ambulanced to gave me treatment and said I should be airlifted to a nearby hospital in case I needed surgery. My insurance paid PHI apporx $10,000 but they "Balance billed" for $26,000. It was a 20 minute flight. They can charge any amount and I would be on the hook for the difference? This is a bad situation. I even consulted an attorney but he didn't know where to start...
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Medical Emergency
Amount: $61,000.00
Posted by: Lori Drake in Aiken, SC.Posted: February 24th, 2019 03:02AM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: 2 flight nurses
On December 30, 2018, I was thrown from my horse in Allendale,SC and was flown to Augusta University hospital, a 22 minute flight. I have BlueCross Blueshield. They are refusing payment. Reading some of the comments on here, I just can’t believe the amount of money that the air transport companies are charging. I live paycheck to paycheck and do not know how I’m going to pay $62,000. It takes me a whole year to make that amount of money, of course I get at least $20,000 taken out in taxes and I pay $300 a month for my medical insurance. If it takes me a whole year to make that amount of money, of course I get at least $20,000 taken out in taxes and I pay $300 a month for my medical insurance.
Very stressed and very pissed off.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
NICU Transport
Amount: $81,000.00
Posted by: Large bill for helicopter transport in Denver, CO.Posted: February 8th, 2019 10:02AM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: Neonatal nurse
Airlife Denver flew our son from Glenwood Springs,CO to Denver.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air Ambulance fromLaaber, to Regensburg 20 miles
Amount: $10.00
Posted by: Ralph Kellner in Laaber, Other.Posted: January 19th, 2019 02:01AM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: 1 Doctor,1 Nurse
Live in Germany and must just pay the copay what was 10€.
The rest pay our universal health care.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Coordinator - Noble Healthcare Relations
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: a user in Little Rock, AR.Posted: September 17th, 2018 11:09AM
Type of Aircraft: Air AmbulanceMedical Personnel:
I am a coordinator who can probably assist you all with your air ambulance claims. Please email me at [email protected]
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Outrageous cost of stat flight
Amount: $48,000.00
Posted by: Marjorie in Salem, IN.Posted: August 28th, 2018 09:08AM
Type of Aircraft: helicopterMedical Personnel:
My nephew was injured in car accident on his way to work and was stat flight to Louisville. No health insurance, only liability auto insurance. What's he supposed to do now? no car, can't work, no money
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Flight from one hospital to one with a NICU because my wife’s water broke at 27weeks.
Amount: $60,736.00
Posted by: JasonT in Hermiston, OR.Posted: July 24th, 2018 05:07PM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: One Nurse, one other member
Wife’s water broke at 27 weeks, we went to our regular hospital, they told us we would have to be transported 180 miles to a hospital with an NICU. The baby was born a week later.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
cost of "life flight"
Amount: $40,000.00
Posted by: cissa in Cleveland, OH.Posted: July 9th, 2018 11:07PM
Type of Aircraft: helicopterMedical Personnel: 2 nurses
My 25 yr old son was Life flighted from community hospital to main campus d/t intracranial hemorrhage... it was needed. Distance was 30 min by car, approx. 15 by air if that. They started calling him within days of the accident for a total of $40,000. My son's insurance Blue Cross blue Shield (very good insurance) paid $10,000 and yet they wanted me (while caring for a son with a head trauma) to continue to ask the insurance carrier for more coverage. They continued to call weekly to check on my status.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Consumer Reports May 2017 reports the scam
Amount: $37,000.00
Posted by: 19 BROKEN BONES in Ketchum, ID.Posted: May 2nd, 2018 03:05PM
Type of Aircraft: fixed wingMedical Personnel: two plus pilot
I too had the bad experience of a very expensive half hour flight that is not being paid for by my insurance, but I am still fighting them. The May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports exposes the Life Flight racket and explains how they get away with it. It is very sad what is being done.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Cost of Air Ambulance
Amount: $52,481.30
Posted by: Patricia Donovan in Emory, TX.Posted: April 11th, 2018 09:04AM
Type of Aircraft: HelicopterMedical Personnel: 2 medics and Pilot
One car vehicle accident, regular ambulance called for Med Flight due to numerous broken ribs and possible punctured lung, question of pancreatic injury, other internal injuries. 48 miles, billed a $464.68 per rotary wing mileage. Total: $22,304.64, and second charge for Ambulance service, conventional air services, one way of $30,176.66. Total bill an outrageous $52,481.30! My auto insurance paid full personal injury benefits of $2525.00. Now will be billing Medicare and Tricare 2nd. Will be shocked if they pay anywhere near that, but I shouldn't be billed, better not be held responsible!
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air ambulance cost option
Amount: $9,300.00
Posted by: Dstealt in Las Vegas, NV.Posted: April 10th, 2018 07:04PM
Type of Aircraft: Lear 35Medical Personnel: None
Arranged a trip with a private airline company to transport my sister & 91 year old mother who was leaving Merit Care Hospital/rehab in Fargo Nd. after 6 weeks in the hospital to return to her home in LV, Nv. She could not have made the trip commercially, as the airlines declined to let her fly due to her medical situation(she was stabilized). Only thing she needed was oxygen, which was not a problem. The costs associated with any & all of our medical needs are vastly over-inflated by everyone involved in the medical profession! The biggest problem begins with the insurance companies!! Best thing that could happen is to blow up the entire field & flush all the “old ways” down the toilet, but “politics” will never allow that to happen.....
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air ambulance cost
Amount: $69,000.00
Posted by: a user in San Diego, CA.Posted: March 10th, 2018 12:03PM
Type of Aircraft: HeliocopterMedical Personnel: 1 paramedic
Flight was 75 miles to the hospital. I was semi-conscious but no mention was made of the cost. Whether this flight was medically necessary is questionable. Insurance claims this flight was "out of network" and didn't want to pay. (they do not have one IN network) Helicopter charge $220 for an IV. Hospital charges $40. Has anyone else written their congressman to reign in these rip offs?
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Air lifted 42 miles been out for ten hours before found
Amount: $39,000.00
Posted by: Anthony Coli in Arkansas City, KS.Posted: March 8th, 2018 02:03AM
Type of Aircraft: HelecopterMedical Personnel: Ues
I was awake when loaded in ambulance and awake when loaded in life flight to go 42miles to icu and I had insurance
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam

Page 3 of 3   -   << Previous   1   2   3   


Comment On Your Experience With an Air Ambulance
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Type of Aircraft: Medical Personnel: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.

External Resources:
  1.  /
More Health & Personal Care Topics
Check Out All Costs for Health & Personal Care How Much Does a Knee Brace Cost? How Much Does an Emergency Room Visit Cost? How Much Does an X-Ray Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on

Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
UTI urgent care visit
Paid: 147.00
Visit was $135. Antibiotics was $12. Waiting for four hours in the waiting room and the visit was quick... [more]
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment Cost
Spanish Medical Interpreter
Paid: 150.00
I worked with SynShyne Services out of Monroe, NC. They were so worth the price! Professional, friendly, accurate, great attitude and always on time. I recieved an itemized report after every contact and a user friendly invoice weekly... [more]
-Gregory Richardson
Interpreter Cost
Paid: 495.00
This is how much I am paying... [more]
-Calista Christian
Dental Admission Test Cost
Paid: 48.00
... [more]
-Not that BB
Shingles Vaccine Cost
Skin prick allergy test
Paid: 573.00
Took my 9 yr. old in after an allergic reaction to eggs. Several panels for nuts, fish & top 8 allergens. Sure enough, egg came up. Got a script for epinephrine and left... [more]
-D’s mom
Allergy Testing Cost
Estimate for Teeth Cleaning Cat
Paid: 0.00
13 year old cat …teeth extractions, X-rays, blood work, anesthetic, cleaning estimate 2 to 3 thousand... [more]
Cat Teeth Cleaning Cost