In the recent iPMI Magazine round table business forum International Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Strategies we spoke with the insurance, assistance and air ambulance industry and discussed which policies and procedures may be improved between IPMI payors and providers.
This isn't the first time iPMI Magazine has asked this question, and once again, terms of payment make an appearance.
The general consensus is that IPMI providers are not concerned that they will not be paid however in some instances payment could be made quicker. Read on to learn why efficient terms of payment remain critical in the world of IPMI.
IRENA DIMITRIJEVIC, JET EXECUTIVE: From our point of view we would clearly prefer if the insurers would pay more quickly. If it is a big insurance or a global assistance company it is not that we are concerned they won’t pay but as everyone knows airplanes and flights are quite expensive and we are producing almost all costs before and during the flight but often have to wait up to 3 months until payment. It is a lot of money we credit each day. In any other business you have to pay up front or latest 14 days after your purchase. The clients usually argue with the point that they are waiting for the money from their insurers until they can close the case and pay us. Unfortunately I cannot say the same to my providers such as handling agents, airports, fuelling companies, hotels and crews.
If we have a request from a private person or an unknown broker we only work with credit card safety before flight operation.
PHILIPP SCHNEIDER, QUICK AIR: In general it is important to explain the terms of payment which apply between an airline and its suppliers. Payments for fuel, handling, airport fees, etc. have to be paid immediately and without delay. Understanding these contractual terms should make the payer aware that the time of payment can only be lengthened to a certain degree.
EVA KLUGE, AIR ALLIANCE: A better structuring of exchanged data and real-time information are certainly worth looking at. So is invoicing. Most assistance companies will receive their payment by the insurers and then pay the provider. With almost all clients, this works quite well, with some, unfortunately, there are long delays. Direct and consolidated billing systems or potentially claims floats for assistance companies may be an option.
CLAUDIA SCHMIEDHUBER, TYROL AIR AMBULANCE: As I have mentioned before – a transparent and open communication and mutual decision making when it comes to workflows and procedures will avoid headaches in the future. A pro-active approach and open communication in regards to the expectations and the steps that need to be taken, should be the first priority when a new client comes on board. A clear structure, a pre-determined workflow and designated contact person who is available to answer all questions is of great importance for both parties.
I am also of the opinion that a well-developed complaint management system is essential for the relationship between payor and provider. As misunderstandings and mistakes can happen along the way, it will determine the satisfaction of patient and client how well the complaint is being managed and also what steps are taken to avoid such an issue in the future.