Contact 2: Courts to decide emergency helicopter transport case

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- On July 15th 2014, Sullivan, MO resident Jeannie Radford's only concern was the health of her baby.

"I was 32 weeks and five days pregnant. I was five centimeters dilated. My water bag bulging," added Radford.

Jeannie was rushed to the hospital in Sullivan, but the hospital was unequipped to care for a premature baby. Doctors ordered Jeannie be emergency airlifted more than 60 miles to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St.Louis.

Two years later, Jeannie's daughter, Josie, is a happy and healthy two year old, but her complicated birth recently led to a new complication.

Jeannie was denied a home loan and informed she was in collections. The lender told her she owed more than $50,000 for the emergency helicopter ride.  She says it was the first time she'd heard anything about the bill.

When she contacted her insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, she says a representative told her the company was not paying the bill because it determined it wasn’t medically necessary for her to be airlifted.

"I guarantee if we asked that physician whether he thought it was medically necessary, he would tell us yes." said Matt O'Grady, Radford's attorney.

Radford's case will be decided in court. Matt O'Grady is her attorney. He says Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield removed the case to federal court in an attempt to limit the damages the company could have to pay.

"We certainly hope to get it back to state court where her remedies will be more expansive and broader so she can actually be made whole for the damages they did to her credit," said O'Grady.

We found Jeannie's case is part of a much larger issue.

"There is currently a big problem with regard to how these services are reimbursed," said Amanda Thayer, spokesperson for the Save Our Air Medical Resources Campaign.

Thayer says the campaign was created to address reimbursement shortfalls at the government level and by private providers.

"When seven out of 10 transports are reimbursed at rates egregiously below the cost of services in many cases, you end up with this system in which the minority of folks with private insurance; basically the system is resting on their shoulders. They`re bearing the burden of keeping the whole system going," added Thayer.

For now, Jeannie Radford bears the burden of an uncertain future for her family.

"All of this I've done to try to get my kids a house. Something that can be ours. Our forever home or whatever, and it just got shattered," added Radford.

We again asked Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield this question:  If Jeannie Radford's case isn't medically necessary, what is?

The company held its position saying it wouldn't comment on pending litigation.

Well keep you posted on what happens.