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Lyons family who lost everything in fire hit with $40K bill by Mercy Flight

The family grieving the loss of 4-year-old Kayden Bennet has been hit with a $40,000 bill.

Kayden was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital via Mercy Flight and was put on life support. Eventually Kayden passed away at Strong Hospital.

But that doesn’t mean the Lyons family was going to have that cost – like most others – covered by their insurance.

News10NBC reports that six days after the fire, and his family said goodbye, a notice arrived in the mail. Mercy Flight was not in Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Network.

“It’s almost like they don’t have a heart, I mean these are two people (Kayden’s mom and dad) that work every day, they try to raise their family, and they’ve lost every single thing they owned,” a family member said.

Mercy Flight says the notice isn’t a bill, and the even argue that Excellus BCBS’s claim that they won’t pay any of it is untrue. They contend that insurance will pay something. It’s just unclear when, or how much.

News10NBC’s past reporting suggests that between $5,000 and $8,000 could be paid by insurance if past trends play out, but that is a small percentage of the full-bill received by family.

They would be on the hook for the rest.

The CEO of Mercy Flight Central, Jeff Bartkowski, told News10NBC in the past that the organization is not currently in any private insurers’ networks but is working to change that. When customers are in a “balance billing” situation like Kayden’s family now is, Mercy Flight Central will work with them to discount the balance and offer payment plans.

As they report, though, two people were airlifted from the scene of that devastating fire in November.

Kayden’s 10-year-old brother was airlifted by LifeNet NY, who is part of Excellus’ network. The family didn’t get a bill for the LifeNet transfer.

As noted by their reporting – two different providers offering the same exact service to the same exact family with the same exact insurance: One ride will likely cost thousands out of pocket. Meanwhile, the other will be completely covered after co-pays and deductibles.

Check out the full-story, including a conversation between News10NBC’s Jennifer Lewke and Mercy Flight’s Jeff Bartkowski.


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