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Frequently Asked Questions

San Antonio AirLIFE is a Texas owned, nonprofit air ambulance provider serving Southwest Texas. Initially founded in 1990 as “Baptist AirLIFE,” our mission has evolved with the partnership with the University Health System in 1994, which has led to the accumulation of over 47,000 flight hours and the transport of over 40,000 patients in our service area. Our bases are geographically placed to serve all communities – urban and rural. We work cooperatively with all medical facilities throughout our service area to transport patients to the most appropriate facility for their condition. Our hard work and dedication to serve has led to the Commission for Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) accreditation since 1996, and recognition from the state of Texas as the EMS Air Medical Provider of the Year in 1998, 2000, and 2008.

Our helicopter bases are located in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Kerrville and Uvalde (Uvalde available during daylight hours Thursday through Sunday). Each base has a service area of 150-mile radius around each base. Our fixed-wing component (partnered with CAMTS-accredited Air Medical) is located in San Antonio and provides an additional resource.

The AirLIFE Guardian Angel Program is a membership plan approved by the Texas Department of State Health Care Services. Membership costs $49 for individuals and families and can be pro-rated per person for affiliated groups of 50 or more. (Please call 1-877-404-7111 for complete details.) As an AirLIFE Guardian Angel member, you will be supporting our nonprofit mission, receive quarterly newsletters that detail stories of AirLIFE’s impact on the lives of those in the community, as well as frequent e-mail updates of events that AirLIFE will be participating in. Additionally, in the unlikely event that you necessitate air transport, you will not be charged for any air ambulance transport costs not covered by your insurance. However, you may be responsible for other costs associated with your transfer, including any insurance deductibles and ground ambulance charges.

This fee varies based on mileage flown; however, it is typically greater than $10,000 per flight.


This too varies by insurance company; some will reimburse 100%, some as low as 40%. This could lead to a $6,000 out of pocket expense to the patient.

No. The AirLIFE Guardian Angel Program may duplicate features in your insurance. You should check with your insurance provider first to determine if AirLIFE Membership duplicates existing coverage. Also, program benefits apply only if AirLIFE and its reciprocal partners directly provide the air transport. This does not cover costs outside of air ambulance transport, such as ground ambulance transportation, emergency room care, etc.

Yes. All membership benefits apply equally regardless of your insurance provider. Note: Medicaid recipients are ineligible.

No. Your deductible is an obligation to your insurance provider.

All family members living in the same household and all children listed on your federal tax return. This includes children attending college.

Yes. All AirLIFE staff are trained in pediatric care as well as High Risk Obstetrical Care. However, for interfacility (hospital to hospital) transfers, AirLIFE’s aircraft is capable of flying in a specialty team from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, Methodist Children’s Hospital, or University Hospital, to transport the sickest of newborns and children if requested by physician.

Grandchildren are covered only if you are the legal guardian. You may obtain additional enrollments for adult children and grandchildren.

A homeowner’s association or similar group may qualify for group enrollment if it meets AirLIFE‘s criteria for groups. Please call 1-877-404-7111 to discuss eligibility for group enrollment.

No. In an emergency, AirLIFE is dispatched only by the 911 system (EMS or Fire Department). AirLIFE is not a “first responder” agency, and we depend on such agencies to call us when it is medically appropriate to do so.

Yes. If your physician transfers you to another medical facility, you can advise them that you are an AirLIFE Guardian Angel enrollee and request AirLIFE. All enrollment benefits apply to hospital to hospital transports.

No. Your enrollment in Guardian Angel applies only to AirLIFE.

No. Only physicians or emergency medical professionals can request AirLIFE.

You can’t. AirLIFE is an air ambulance service for victims of trauma or life threatening illness. A physician or emergency medical professional must request AirLIFE.

A reciprocal partner honors AirLIFE memberships if they fly our members. This means your AirLIFE Membership travels with you throughout Texas. AirLIFE’s reciprocal partner is CareFlite, which covers the Dallas-Ft. Worth region.

No. AirLIFE’s reciprocal partner only includes those programs listed above.

No. AirLIFE enrollment covers only the out-of-pocket cost of your air ambulance transport.

Seniors belonging to an affiliated group can enroll under a group membership to reduce costs. Please call 1-877-404-7111 to discuss eligibility for group enrollment.

Yes. Join Now.

AirLIFE accepts money orders, checks, VISA and MasterCard. If you decide to send in your membership application via U.S. Postal Service, please do not send cash.

New member benefits begin 14 days after receipt of your signed agreement form and payment. There is no waiting period for renewals. You will receive your membership packet within two business weeks.

If you are uninsured, you will receive a 50% discount on your AirLIFE bill.

If Members insurance deems air transport usage "not medically necessary" or denies the claim for any reason, AirLIFE's billing agencies will utilize the appeals process until all attempts for collection have been exhausted. At this point, the member will be billed for only 50% of the AirLIFE charges.

Yes. If you are an EMS, Fire Department, Law Enforcement, or Hospital employee, please call 1-877-404-7111 to find out your special rate.

San Antonio AirLIFE is not responsible for ground ambulance charges or charges from other air-ambulance operators when:

  • AirLIFE is unable to safely respond to, or transport, a Guardian Angel Member due to inclimate weather conditions that prohibit our response in accordance with weather minimums posted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or in the FAA approved manual for the aviation certificate holder, Air Methods Corporation.
  • AirLIFE is unavailable to transport a Guardian Angel Member due to the aircraft(s) being out of service for a mechanical issue as defined by the FAA.
  • All AirLIFE aircraft are assigned to other calls preventing us from being able to respond to a request for a Guardian Angel Member.
  • A First-Responder, EMS Service or Hospital request air-ambulance transport from a non-AirLIFE affiliated air-ambulance operator.
 

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