A man from Lincolnton, North Carolina, who was airlifted to a hospital after a car accident, has finally got his insurance claim approved after months of struggle. Stanley Mull had to pay $43,427 out of his pocket for the flight, which his insurance company, BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina, deemed as “non medically necessary”.
A life-saving decision
Mull was driving along Startown Road in Lincoln County on March 22, 2023, when another driver cut in front of him to get to a gas station. The collision caused severe damage to his truck and deployed the airbags. Mull thought he was OK, but his daughter insisted that he go to the emergency room.
At the ER, the doctors ran some tests and discovered that he was bleeding internally. They decided to airlift him to Winston-Salem, where he could receive specialized care. Mull had no say in the decision, and he agreed with his family that it was the best option for his health.
A shocking bill
Mull expected that the other driver’s insurance would cover his injuries, since she was at fault for the accident. However, he found out that she did not have enough coverage, so he had to rely on his own insurance, BlueCross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
To his dismay, BlueCross denied his claim twice, saying that the flight was “non medically necessary”. They argued that he could have been transported by ground ambulance instead. Mull was left with a bill of $43,427 for the flight, which he could not afford.
A successful appeal
Desperate for help, Mull contacted Action 9’s Jason Stoogenke, a consumer investigator for WSOC TV. Stoogenke emailed BlueCross and asked them to review Mull’s case. He also had Mull sign a privacy release so that the company could discuss his case with Action 9.
Less than two weeks later, Mull received a letter from BlueCross, saying that they had reviewed their policies and overturned their denial. They now deemed his flight medically necessary and agreed to cover the cost. They also apologized for any inconvenience caused by their initial decision.
“We’re always happy to help our members navigate the appeals process,” the company emailed Action 9.
A lesson learned
Stoogenke advised viewers to remember that they always have the right to refuse an ambulance or air ambulance if they are conscious and able to make an informed decision. However, he acknowledged that sometimes there is no time or choice in an emergency situation.
He also suggested that if anyone is shocked by a medical bill, they should not give up and challenge it. He said that medical bills are not always final and that persistence can pay off.
Mull was relieved and grateful that his ordeal was over. He thanked Stoogenke and Action 9 for their assistance and said that he hoped his story would help others in similar situations.