Hawaii air ambulance company buys its only competitor

Hawaii air ambulance company buys its only competitor

HONOLULU (AP) - A firm that controls one of two air ambulance companies in Hawaii is acquiring the second medevac business in a transaction that could create a monopoly.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday that Air Medical Group Holdings Inc., which owns Hawaii Life Flight, plans to buy competitor American Medical Response for $2.4 billion.

The transaction comes after Kaiser Foundation Health Plan just last year sued Hawaii Life Flight, claiming the company charges exorbitant rates that are significantly higher than American Medical Response.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser research backs claims that American Medical Response charges thousands of dollars less than Hawaii Life Flight for similar flights.

Air Medical spokesman Reid Vogel declined to comment on whether the Hawaii companies would be consolidated, but said working together could shorten response times and control costs.

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