Without Medicare Part B’s Shield, Patient’s Family Owes $81,000 for a Single Air-Ambulance Flight

Debra Prichard, a retired factory worker from rural Tennessee, incurred an $81,739.40 bill for an air ambulance flight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center before her death. She only had Medicare Part A insurance, which does not cover ambulance services. Her daughter, Alicia Wieberg, and the estate are now grappling with the bill, as Prichard had opted out of Medicare Part B coverage to avoid premiums. The family’s struggle highlights the complexity of Medicare coverage and the importance of enrolling in Part B. Advocates recommend seeking assistance to navigate Medicare and explore options for covering expenses.

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