Press Release

Addressing the High Costs of Air Ambulance Services

Air ambulances are a critical piece of transportation infrastructure for the health care industry that save thousands of lives every year, but often at shockingly high costs to patients. In a new insight, Director of Regulatory Policy Dan Goldbeck and Malcolm Mahoney walk through the causes for air ambulances’ high prices and examine the efficacy of potential solutions.

Key points:

  • Over 550,000 patients use air ambulance services annually in the United States, but often these trips represent a significant economic burden with a per-trip median cost of $36,000.
  • The air ambulance industry’s exorbitant costs are likely the result of its significant concentration, as there are few competitors in the market.
  • Congressional or state legislation may be able to promote competition via antitrust laws and regulation of natural monopolies in the air ambulance market, but policymakers must have a better handle on the specific cost drivers involved before acting, which they can gain through more rigorous data collection.

Read the analysis