Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance In Travel Insurance Plans – Forbes Advisor
Illness or injury can ruin a vacation. And it’s even worse if you’re away from home. If you need air transportation for immediate medical care during your trip, a comprehensive travel insurance plan with emergency medical evacuation benefits can help cover the cost.
This is how medical evacuation travel insurance works and why it can be an essential part of a solid travel insurance plan.
Reading: How much medical evacuation insurance do you need
what is emergency medical evacuation insurance?
Emergency medical evacuation insurance is usually included in a comprehensive travel insurance plan. it is sometimes called medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. the maximum amount of coverage will vary by plan, so be sure to look for a high amount of coverage if this is important to you.
The best travel insurance plans provide up to $1 million per person for medical evacuation. That may seem high, but evacuation costs can add up quickly.
“The cost of emergency medical transportation can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more, especially if you are in a remote destination,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesman for Allianz Global Assistance.
Exactly what you would pay for an emergency evacuation would depend on your medical condition, the care required, and your location. Durazo says that emergency medical transport to the us. uu. from the following countries may cost the following:
- Caribbean and Mexico: $15,000 to $25,000
- South America: $40,000 to $75,000
- parts of europe: $65,000 to $90,000
- asia, australia and middle east: $165,000 to $225,000
- Most air ambulances are small aircraft that can only fly four to six hours at a time, requiring frequent landings to refuel. they can accommodate just the patient, nurse and a guest in very tight spaces, often with no bathroom and minimal space for luggage storage, he says.
- Commercial airlines offer more options, including direct flights, better overall flight quality, and space for multiple accompanying medical staff and fellow travelers.
- patients can travel in first or business class, where they can lie down if medically necessary.
what does medical evacuation insurance cover?
This is what medical evacuation insurance typically covers.
Medical evacuation insurance may pay for the cost of emergency transportation to the nearest appropriate treatment facility if you become seriously ill or injured while traveling and require immediate care. You can also pay for transportation back to the US. uu. if medically necessary.
or, if you have received treatment but need to fly back to the us. uu. for further treatment or recovery, you can pay for the flight home.
medical accompaniment on your return home
If you require specialized care for the flight home, such as a medical professional who may administer intravenous antibiotics or oxygen during your flight, medical evacuation insurance may pay for costs associated with medical escort services.
the cost of a friend or relative’s trip to you
If you’re hospitalized during your trip due to an illness or injury covered by your policy, your medical evacuation travel insurance may pay for a round-trip flight for a friend or family member to stay with you. this benefit generally has a minimum hospital stay requirement. For example, if you are told you will be hospitalized for seven days or more, your benefits may apply.
costs of a companion
Some medical evacuation benefits include compensation for hotel stays, meals, and other reasonable costs incurred by your traveling companion while they remain near you.
the cost of your children’s flight home
if you are hospitalized during your trip and you are traveling with your children, your travel insurance company can arrange for your children to fly home or to another location in the us. uu. Your benefits may offset the cost, less any reimbursement for unused airline tickets. this benefit also usually has a minimum number of hospital days that you must meet to file a claim.
repatriation of remains
If you or a fellow traveler dies during your trip, the cost of transporting the remains home may be covered by the repatriation benefits included in your evacuation coverage.
When is medical evacuation insurance needed?
Medical evacuation benefits help you if you become seriously ill or seriously injured during your trip and there are no local hospitals with the resources to treat your condition.
for example, if you are seriously injured in a car accident in china, your travel insurance company may arrange medical evacuation services to the nearest hospital equipped to treat you, which may be elsewhere in china, in another country or even in the back in the us.
Your travel insurance company will work as a liaison to arrange transportation on your behalf, which can be helpful during a medical crisis in a foreign country.
Travel medical insurance in a travel insurance plan can pay for medical and hospital bills, x-rays, laboratory tests, medications and other associated expenses, up to the limit of your medical coverage. evacuation insurance and travel medical insurance have separate coverage limits. for example, a generous travel insurance plan could have up to $500,000 for medical expenses and up to $1 million for evacuation.
When you’re well enough to travel, your travel insurance company can pay for your flight home.
do you need medical evacuation and travel medical insurance?
It is prudent to have both medical evacuation travel insurance and travel medical insurance when traveling abroad.
“If you’re not prepared to pay all of your medical bills out of pocket, this is a crucial reason to purchase travel insurance that includes emergency medical coverage and transportation benefits,” Durazo says at allianz.
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if you travel outside the us. In the US, it is often essential that you have travel health insurance because your domestic health insurance plan may have little or no international coverage. Check with your health insurance company to see if your plan has comprehensive coverage and if it is considered “out-of-network.” Additionally, older travelers should be aware that Medicare is not accepted abroad.
how to get approved to use medical evacuation insurance
After a medical emergency while traveling, the first call should be to the local emergency services. then you or your companion or tour guide should call the emergency hotline or customer service number of your travel insurance company.
“The support team, which includes emergency room physicians and travel experts, reviews the case and communicates with your physician to discuss your treatment, help manage your care, and determine if emergency medical transportation is necessary. emergency,” Durazo says.
To use medical evacuation insurance, you generally must have an emergency evacuation ordered by the attending physician at the location that certifies that the severity of your injury or accidental illness justifies the move.
Ideally, your travel insurance company would help coordinate the medical evacuation and move, and approve it in advance. if that is not possible, your travel insurance company should be notified as soon as possible.
If you need emergency medical transportation, your options may include an air ambulance or a commercial airline.
how will you be transported?
While you may think an air ambulance is your only option, Durazo says that working with a commercial carrier is often a better experience for the patient and their companions for several reasons:
Your travel insurance company’s 24/7 helpline can help
Travel insurance companies usually have a team of doctors, interpreters and travel experts available to help you 24 hours a day. You can contact your travel insurance company by calling their dedicated 24/7 travel assistance hotline or using their app, if available, to communicate with the support team.
“the support team can help you coordinate care with the doctors who treat you at your destination, as well as help you get to a high-quality medical center with the right treatment options, all to ensure the best medical care possible”, explains Durazo. .
In addition to arranging for emergency medical transportation, Durazo says these teams often offer help throughout treatment. for example, allianz global support staff will liaise with physicians to review daily medical reports and updates to family members, provide interpretation services if needed, and help ensure payment to the treatment center and handle billing.
do you need evacuation insurance for travel within the united states?
There are some instances where medical evacuation travel insurance can be a smart choice even when traveling within the US. uu., says durazo.
For example, if you’re going on a ranch or adventure trip in a remote area, it’s a good idea to have evacuation coverage. If you’re injured, your health plan should cover your transportation to the hospital and your medical care once you’re there, but it probably won’t pay for a flight home that requires medical equipment and a medical escort. In addition, you will be responsible for the copays and deductibles that come with your health insurance coverage.
On the other hand, let’s say you’re visiting a friend from college in Chicago and plan to go shopping and visit museums in the Windy City. he probably won’t need emergency evacuation coverage in that case.
How much medical evacuation travel insurance do I need?
The limits for emergency medical evacuation insurance vary by company and plan. the most generous travel insurance plans provide $1 million in medical evacuation coverage per person. for example, the axa assistance usa platinum plan and the allianz onetrippremier plan include up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage.
However, you may find plans with lower coverage amounts. for example, axa assistance usa silver plan provides $100,000 for emergency evacuation, and allianz onetrip basic plan provides $50,000 in emergency medical transportation benefits.
Most travel insurance plans offer a 14- or 15-day “free review” period during which you can review your policy. “If you later decide during the free trial period that the product doesn’t meet your needs, you can purchase a new product with more or less coverage or cancel the policy for a full refund,” says Durazo.
how do you buy medical evacuation travel insurance?
You can purchase medical evacuation travel insurance as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan or a stand-alone travel medical plan.
Travel medical insurance and emergency medical transportation insurance are often purchased as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan that also includes trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, trip interruption insurance and baggage insurance.
However, says Durazo, if you’re not worried about trip cancellation, you can find plans that cover only the medical issues of the trip. For example, Allianz offers the OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan, which provides up to $50,000 in medical expense coverage and $250,000 in emergency evacuation benefits.
check this fine print
Coverage details vary by plan and travel insurance company, so be sure to review the details below.
hospital stay requirements
Benefits for your children’s flight home and for someone to come visit you are usually for long hospital stays. for example, this may take seven days or more. that means if you are in the hospital for four days, these benefits may not apply.
hospital of choice
Most medical evacuation insurance plans stipulate that you be airlifted to the nearest appropriate facility for treatment. if you need more care after that, some plans have additional coverage that lets you choose which hospital to go to next. for example, the aig travel guard deluxe plan allows you to request transportation to the hospital of your choice for further care, recovery or treatment once you are stabilized.
Also, hospital choice benefits generally do not apply to nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. be sure to ask your travel insurance company if “hospital of choice” is offered and how it works.
extreme sports exclusions
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Some travel insurance plans exclude injuries resulting from extreme sports or adventure activities from medical and evacuation benefits. sometimes you can add a rider to get coverage or find a plan that covers your specific activities.
emergency health transport and covid
With many countries remaining at high risk for COVID, or designated as Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the importance of emergency medical transportation insurance is even more valuable.
squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider, recommends a minimum of $100,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage, to cover evacuation expenses related to covid-19. make sure the plan covers covid-related claims.
If you’re headed to a remote destination, where it may be more expensive or difficult to get to a medical facility, Squaremouth recommends $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage.
See our ratings of the best pandemic travel insurance plans.
other medical evacuation options
Companies like MedJet and Global Rescue can be a good option for those who want to fly directly back to the US. uu. after a medical emergency instead of going to the nearest hospital equipped to care for you, as required by travel insurance plans.
These types of companies are also worth serious consideration if you participate in extreme sports while on vacation or have pre-existing medical conditions.
medjet provides private or commercial medical evacuation or air ambulance transportation from a hospital anywhere in the world to the hospital of your choice in your home country. To use MedJet services, you must purchase a membership prior to your trip. and you must travel at least 150 miles from home. There are medical and legal specialists on staff to assist you.
The company offers a variety of membership plans for domestic and international travel, college students, business travelers and more. short-term vacation plans of eight, 15, 21 and 30 days start at $99 for an individual and $199 for a family.
medjet also offers a plan that adds security assistance and crisis response.
global rescue is a provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services to businesses, governments and individuals. an individual annual membership costs $349.
One of the benefits of global rescue is that you can be airlifted from where you had your accident or injury.
“If you have a minor injury or illness, you can call global rescue and speak with a medical expert on staff who will help you figure out what you should and shouldn’t do based on your unique situation and symptoms,” he says. dan richards. , executive director of global rescue.
In the event of significant injury or illness, including COVID, Global Rescue assesses the circumstances and arranges for medical evacuation or field rescue repatriation, Richards says.
“If the case is complicated, we can deploy to the member’s bedside to make sure they get the care they need to be stable enough for transport,” he says.
global rescue also provides emergency evacuation for non-medical emergencies. With a safety upgrade, Global Rescue provides advisory and evacuation services for unforeseen natural disasters, civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and government-mandated evacuations.
“Global rescue services extend to wherever the individual is, and the personnel who respond are among the most highly trained paramedics, nurses, doctors and military special operations veterans available. We don’t just take the phone call; We send our staff to the scene of the crisis and use every means available to get them to safety and get the care they need,” says Richards.
learn more about services like medjet and global rescue
You may want to purchase medjet or global rescue memberships as additional coverage to a travel insurance plan if you frequently travel to remote locations.
With medjet and global rescue, there is no limit on transportation coverage like there is with travel insurance. you only pay the membership fee.
“If a member gets sick or injured while backcountry skiing, hang gliding, rock climbing, or any other activity, our services will be in place,” says richards.
another advantage of services like medjet and global rescue is that you will not have to file a claim for reimbursement for evacuation services. your membership is your access to coverage.
You can also be airlifted directly from the scene of your emergency with global rescue services. “We’ll rescue you from the point of injury or illness (field rescue) and get you to a medical facility where you can be diagnosed and treated,” Richards says.
however, medjet and global rescue are not travel insurance companies, so you will not find coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation, interruptions, delays or baggage.