Picture this, it’s day 3 of your snowboarding vacation and you are feeling unstoppable! The snow is great – beautiful groomer trails abound, you’re having a killer speed run and you carve hard to make this epic sweeping heelside turn when your edge slips out on a surprise patch of ice, and before you can react, you’re airborne and are knocked out upon landing (that tree came outta nowhere!).
Or you’re skiing with your kids and just taking a cruising run on the greens, when someone comes out of control and clips you, causing a wreck – your ski doesn’t eject properly and your leg breaks. We know this is a huge bummer – but having been snowsports enthusiasts for more than two decades, it’s a reality – and unfortunately not an uncommon one.
It sucks, but the fact is that both scenarios can happen to the best of us. That’s the thing – It’s not really about how good of a skier or rider you are- but it’s also the other people around you, and the changing environment in addition to your own skills, that you cannot predict.
When driving a car, everyone must have a valid license. There are lanes to stay in, and lights and signals that everyone (usually) obeys. But on the hill we are traveling at high speed, focused on our experience, looking for the next place to make a turn or navigate. You may be experienced but there are others who may be having their first day – or who may find themselves riding trails that are far too advanced for their skillset. At Safe Descents, we can personally speak to the feeling of being blindsided by someone. It sucks. Now compound that suckiness by having to take an ambulance to get your leg set in a cast. Maybe you got knocked out and they call the Life Flight service. Then you get blindsided by the surprise ambulance bill for the costs of getting you to the closest appropriate medical care.
“But I have insurance through my work, so my ambulance ride is covered, right?”
Forty years ago, most ambulances were free for patients, provided by volunteers or town fire departments using taxpayer money. Today, there are more than 21,000 licensed local EMS agencies in the United States according to www.ems.gov. These can be run by governments, volunteers, hospitals, private companies, and venture capital firms. As a result, the hospital that you get taken to, or the ambulance company used to get you from the slopes to the hospital may not be in-network for your primary insurance. In addition, if your employer-provided health insurance is self-funded, then there is a lot more variability in what is even covered at all.
Unfortunately, what we are facing in the US is that not all ambulance rides are equal.
Our fragmented system means that the cost to the patient of a similar ambulance trip can vary widely from town to town, as well as who is providing the service, and what kind of insurance the patient has. A study of more than half a million ambulance trips taken by patients with private insurance in 2014, by two staffers at the Federal Trade Commission, found that 26 percent of these trips were billed on an out-of-network basis.
The core of the problem is that ambulance companies and private insurers often can’t agree on a fair price, so the ambulance service doesn’t join the insurer’s network. That leaves patients who use ambulance services, stuck with out-of-network charges. And patients don’t always have a choice in where to seek care; that’s up to the ambulance crew and depends on the protocols written by the medical director of each ambulance service.
So how much could you be facing in the instance that you need to be evacuated off the ski slopes? A google search online will bring up story after story from patients who have primary health insurance, facing $1,500 – $5,000 just in ambulance fees to get to the hospital. If you are in a rural resort area where transportation distances are further away, it could be more. If you require advanced care and have to go to a higher level Trauma Center that is further away, well – you get the picture.
At Safe Descents, we know that the love of skiing and snowboarding is a way of life.
We have come to accept the inherent risks in our sport, but we aren’t foolish. We mitigate our risks by being smart about it. We recognize that we can help those who still love and want to participate in winter sports, by providing Ski and Snowboard Evacuation Insurance to prevent being financially hurt by out-of-control evacuation costs – at incredibly affordable rates.
Safe Descents has pioneered the way to cover your ski and snowboard trip ambulance costs at any resort in the US with $25,000 worth of ski and snowboard evacuation coverage. For just $4.75 a day, or $56.99 for a full ski season, you can ensure that your winter resort vacation doesn’t go downhill.
We love the mountains, just like you do. With Safe Descents, you can shred the slopes without shredding your wallet along the way,