Discussion Of How Medevacs From LifeMed & Guardian Work

Copper River EMS Attempts To Describe How LifeMed & Guardian Interface With Copper Valley From Copper River Country Journal, OCTOBER 13,...

Copper River EMS Attempts To Describe How LifeMed & Guardian Interface With Copper Valley

From Copper River Country Journal, OCTOBER 13, 2022  

The current lack of in-person medical care at a medical facility in the Copper Valley after-hours and on weekends has pushed the prospect of Medevacs as a solution for care to the forefront. Last month, when announcing that Cross Road would cease having after-hours and weekend medical care at its Glennallen clinic, Steve Gallagher of Cross Road wrote in the Copper River Country Journal: "We encourage community members to look into LifeMed Alaska Membership or Guardian's AirMedCareNetwork Membership to help defray costs of emergency flights."





The Copper River Country Journal is attempting to find out exactly what services CRNA is currently offering. Meanwhile, CREMS has added more information about their understanding of how LifeMed and Guardian work.


Working Your Way Through The Fine Print

Matt Lorenz Of CREMS

I think it is worth clarifying how the medevac insurance plans work, or, at the very least, making sure that residents read the fine print and understand the coverage benefits and limitations.  


There are two medevac services that serve the Copper Valley:  LifeMed Alaska and Guardian Flight Alaska.  Each service has their own medevac insurance plan that only applies if they provide the medevac service.  There is no way to guarantee which one of the services will be dispatched and/or available to medevac patients from Gulkana Airport.  So, residents really need to consider investing in both insurance plans or if you only have one, make sure you let 911 dispatch and the ambulance crew know which service you prefer.  


Note that I do not represent or endorse either medevac service or their insurance plans in any way.  I am certainly no expert on interpreting their coverage benefits and/or limitations, but here is my understanding from reading through their brochures.  


The LifeMed insurance is $49/year for the entire nuclear family.  This plan is only secondary insurance and requires that you already have and maintain primary health insurance with coverage for medevacs.  The LifeMed insurance pays any amount above and beyond what your primary health insurance covers.  If your primary health insurance provider denies coverage/payment for your medevac flight (for example, if they can somehow claim that your illness or injury does not qualify for coverage of a medevac flight), the LifeMed insurance will not cover any of the cost of your medevac flight.  Residents would be wise to understand the stipulations of their primary insurance coverage for medevacs before relying on the LifeMed Alaska Insurance plan.  Here is a link to the LifeMed Alaska insurance membership brochure:



Guardian’s membership plan AirMedCare Network is $125/year and covers everyone living in your household.  This plan does not seem to require that you also have primary health insurance and states that it “ensures no out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary flights.”  This plan also looks like it provides medevac coverage within its network of services outside of Alaska, 320 locations in 38 states.  Here is a link to their brochure:  




Also, note that in Alaska these medevac “membership” programs are required by law to be “Insurance.”  It seems that Alaska is the only state that does not allow “membership” programs for ambulance or medevac transports and requires them to be insurance.  This effectively prevents ambulance services like CREMS or Delta Medical Transport from offering similar membership programs to local residents for ambulance service in the region because it would be nearly impossible for a small organization to legally offer “insurance”.  



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