Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and Life Flight Network have reached a network agreement to provide air ambulance service in southwestern Montana.

The agreement was reached after the 2017 Montana Legislature passed a bill that required health insurance and air ambulance companies to negotiate settlements of air ambulance bills, on a case-by-case basis if necessary, leaving patients responsible only for their copays and deductibles.

The legislation came after Montana residents complained to state insurance regulators that they were getting hit with bills for tens of thousands of dollars for out-of-network medical flights.

“This will substantially reduce the chances that our members will have to worry about the financial burden of a large bill during a health crisis,” said Monica Berner, chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana.