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CO SAR - Fees and Insurance?
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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 25, 2012
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!
I was told once, a while ago, that if you get a fishing permit that will will act like insurance for any search and rescues that are performed on you. So I was looking into it today and that doesn't appear to be the case. Looks like the SAR for Colorado is all free? But you can still incur medical costs if they need to use a flight for life/other medical stuff, or sheriff fees and such.
Getting a fishing license(part of the price goes towards the COSAR) or buying a direct COSAR card doesn't actually protect you or anything, it just basically a donation to help keep the COSAR program up and running.
Is that correct? Would health insurance cover ALL of the costs from a Rescue Operation? Is there some other program/thing(maybe SPOT?) that will cover part or all of the costs from a rescue?

Thanks for the Clarification.

FLAG
By John Carter
From Boulder
Apr 25, 2012
Fine Jade
Check out the AAC...

americanalpineclub.org/

Join now! everyone... join now!

FLAG
By Jonny d
Apr 25, 2012
Join the American Alpine Club. Partial coverage with your membership. Plus, you'll be joining a great organization that helps the climbing community.

FLAG
By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 25, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron photo by TooTallT...
You can get backcountry insurance through the Spot for $13 a year for up to $100K of coverage in addition to the annual Spot fee: findmespot.com/en/index.php?ci...

AAC's is $15-$99 a month in addition to their membership fees for coverage up to $10K:
adventureadvocates.com/aac/sel...

Check your health insurance plan for rescue coverage and any activity exclusions. Some plans don't cover accidents sustained while climbing.

FLAG
By Jonny d
Apr 25, 2012
fossana,
Haven't looked at the Spot offer, but you're confusing the AAC's medical insurance partnership with the rescue insurance in which you're automatically enrolled as a member with no additional fee. See here: americanalpineclub.org/p/globa...

FLAG
By Andrew Hildner
Apr 25, 2012
Each County's sheriff's office is responsible for mtn SAR in Colorado. Nearly 100% of those County Sheriff's rely on volunteer mtn rescue teams to provide that service. Most of these mtn rescue teams are members of the MRA (www.mra.org), which has a "no charge for rescue" policy. The Sheriff's still retain the option to charge, but it is VERY rare that they do (usually only if it was criminal behavior, like false reporting a la Lance Herring search). Now, that only covers the RESCUE, not the MEDICAL care.

These rescues do not occur without cost though, to both the volunteer teams and the Sheriff's office. If you are rescued, you are not charged for the RESCUE regardless of whether or not you have a card. The benefit is that if you do have a card, the volunteer mtn SAR team can get re-imbursement from the state COSAR fund that is paid for by part of your fishing/hunting fees or your COSAR card.

The MEDICAL component of your rescue is charged as for any normal accident: the ambulance service (ground or air) will still charge you, as will the treating hospital, and these will be covered by your health insurance (minus your deductible).

You can always call for rescue and refuse medical care, and have no charge. However, know that as soon as you accept pain meds, you can no longer legally refuse transport by ambulance (for understandable reasons: altered mentation, respiratory depression, possible hypotension).

So, the COSAR card helps your mtn rescue team continue to provide free rescue to those like us who love to spend time outdoors.

FLAG
By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 25, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron photo by TooTallT...
Jonny d wrote:
fossana, Haven't looked at the Spot offer, but you're confusing the AAC's medical insurance partnership with the rescue insurance in which you're automatically enrolled as a member with no additional fee. See here: americanalpineclub.org/p/globa...


Thanks for the clarification. At any rate I still would opt for the Spot one since it's provider agnostic.

FLAG
By Ray Hellinger
From Flagstaff, az
Apr 25, 2012
Common misconceptions.....

No volunteer SAR group (which is almost all in CO except for NPS) charges fees for a rescue. Hotly debated topic, but that's the bottom line.

Medical flights (and even non-medical air agencies) WILL charge you.

Your insurance MAY cover those costs of medical flights, ambulance, etc. You need to ask your insurance carrier....it is very specific to YOUR policy. (FYI, some insurance companies will even turn down payment for ambulance transports and you get stuck with the bill because they didn't deam the transport "necessary").

Buying a hunting/fishing license, COSAR card, and registration for an ATV/snowmobile (not many know that one) will donate a set amount of money to the COSAR Fund. When SAR crews respond to someone with those documents they MAY get SOME funding....but they NEVER get FULL funding for the rescue (not even close to be honest).

When Sheriff depts use a helicopter to assist in rescuing your poor ass, they typically eat the cost (which can be HUGE).

So, bottom line....BUY A COSAR CARD!!!!!! THEY ARE ONLY $12 FOR 5 YEARS!!! For the most part, we rescue people for free...and at a huge cost (at times) for us.

You may ask...why does it cost so much? We have to maintain a high level of training in a LOT of areas....that costs a lot of money. You don't see those costs in an actual rescue.

I would be amazed if an insurance carrier covered backcountry rescues.....if so, the premiums must be through the roof! (kinda like flood insurance for someone who lives in a flood plain....)

FLAG
 
By Ray Hellinger
From Flagstaff, az
Apr 25, 2012
Also, $13/yr for the Spot coverage seems WAY too low and I'm guessing if you read the fine print it won't cover most of what you are looking at doing. If you are "banking" on that...I'd find out SPECIFICALLY what it covers and don't make any assumptions.

FLAG
By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 25, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron photo by TooTallT...
Ray wrote:
Also, $13/yr for the Spot coverage seems WAY too low and I'm guessing if you read the fine print it won't cover most of what you are looking at doing. If you are "banking" on that...I'd find out SPECIFICALLY what it covers and don't make any assumptions.


I also would not want to be locked into using Global Rescue at some unknown cost. Note that if you upgrade to their full coverage plan it does not cover you if the incident occurs within 160 miles of your residence (americanalpineclub.org/p/globa... ). I do most of my climbing within this radius. While the newly added domestic trailhead insurance is somewhat useful I still think the GR portion is a racket. The change from the old insurance plan is what made me drop my AAC membership several years ago.

FLAG
By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 26, 2012
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!
It looks like the AAC rescue insurance is almost completely useless in Colorado. Since all it covers is the cost of the rescue/evacuation (and not the medical fees) which is a free service in CO anyway.

FLAG
By Derek W
Apr 26, 2012
First summit of First Flatiron
Andrew and Ray pretty much hit it on the head. Missions cost us (SAR Teams) a lot of money in time and equipment. We do not pass those fees on to the person in need of rescue. SAR teams are funded by grants, SAR reimbursement programs (COSAR, OHV Registration, Hunting/Fishing Licenses, etc.), but largely from donations.

We recommend that you buy a COSAR card, it helps us out a ton. But if you need rescue, whether or not you have the card, know we are coming and will give you the best rescue we can. Always remember, that you can donate directly to your local SAR team, most will have links on their webpages.

If you would like more information, here is a link to the Colorado Search and Rescue Board's (CSRB's) webpage on charging for rescue.

Remember, No Charge for Rescue applies to the SAR teams. As soon as they turn you over to a transporting agency, there WILL be a charge for that (~$800 - $1500 for ground transport alone). Check your health insurance policy for ambulance transport coverage. If airborne units are used(Military or Police usually) there may be a charge incurred for that. Honestly with that, I'm not sure if any insurance will cover it or not if you do get charged, but I feel that generally, Ray is right that the Sheriff will eat that cost.

Tim C wrote:
It looks like the AAC rescue insurance is almost completely useless in Colorado. Since all it covers is the cost of the rescue/evacuation (and not the medical fees) which is a free service in CO anyway.

Remember that a free service to you is not a free service to those providing it to you. Without programs like the AAC, SAR teams do not have the money to train, buy equipment, and respond when people need it.

FLAG
By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 26, 2012
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!
So the AAC also donates to the SAR or part of the membership price is sent to the SAR? Seems good that they get income from lots of different sources.
Does the Access Fund also help fund SAR or are they just for access issues?

FLAG
By trese
From Boulder and Innsbruck, Austria
Apr 26, 2012
Tyrol
You can join the Austrian Alpine Club (Oesterreichischer Alpenverein)- their rescue insurance covers you worldwide and depending on the section club you join (e.g. Alpenverein Innsbruck or Alpenverein Salzburg) it costs you about 52Euros a year.
It covers rescue costs up to 25,000Euros and repatriation with no upper cost limit. I recently moved from Austria to Colorado and being a member of the Alpenverein Innsbruck covers me here too as well as everywhere else in the world.
(Details: COVERAGE )

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By Buff Johnson
Apr 27, 2012
smiley face
A great rack will always be taken so it helps to bring your hot girlfriend in lieu of cash. Unless she's a bitch. I should say total bitch; belay bitch is cool.

If you get the CORSAR card from a given organization directly (like a website, or other point of sale), a portion of the sale does make it more effective for them. Though it's peanuts compared to the timely assistance that the sheriff & agency (sometimes many agencies) can get from you actually having a Dola instrument. The 5 year option being the most desired & purchased.

FLAG
By Andrew Hildner
Apr 27, 2012
Tim C wrote:
So the AAC also donates to the SAR or part of the membership price is sent to the SAR? Seems good that they get income from lots of different sources. Does the Access Fund also help fund SAR or are they just for access issues?


This is not correct. I think Dereck mis-spoke. Neither the AAC nor the Access Fund provide funds to SAR groups in Colorado. The majority of funds for mtn rescue teams in CO come from grants (including from the COSAR fund), donations, and some gov't help. Here's a link to Boulder County's rescue group and their financials: rockymountainrescue.org/fundra...

That web site also has a lot of information about the MRA and the "no charge for rescue" ethos.

FLAG
 
By Derek W
Apr 27, 2012
First summit of First Flatiron
Yeah, sorry that came across wrong.

My point was that SAR teams use money from programs like OHV, hunting licenses, and and COSAR to help fund equipment, training, mission costs, etc.

As Andrew pointed out, Access Fund and AAC do not donate portions of their fees to SAR teams.

I still feel that if you want to support SAR teams, direct donations to your local team via fundraisers or links on their websites is the best way. Insert shameless plug - Douglas County SAR is having our 2nd Annual Fundraiser on May 20th. Check out this link dcsarfunds.org/main/ for more info.

FLAG


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