Alaska weakens air ambulance membership plan regulations

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska health insurance officials have announced the state's plan to weaken air ambulance membership plan regulations.

CoastAlaska reported Thursday that the Alaska Division of Insurance will no longer review consumer membership plans for pre-approval.

Department officials say health insurance does not cover the full cost of a flight, so air ambulance companies offer membership agreements.

Officials say households pay a flat rate fee between $49 and $125 to ensure they are not paying out of pocket.

Air ambulance providers say any changes to membership plans could take months to approve under former rules, but the new rule could speed up the process.

Residents say the complaint-driven process means patients have to follow up on their own.

It is unclear how many people would be affected by the change.