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Travel medical insurance should be high on your vacation to-do list if you are traveling abroad. Your health insurance plan in the United States may not have global coverage or may have a high off-grid deductible. And Medicare is not accepted outside of the United States in almost all cases.
While international travel offers excitement, enrichment, and fun, there is always the possibility that you will get sick or hurt yourself. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will include coverage for medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. The nominal cost of a travel insurance policy can save you thousands in expenses if you need medical attention abroad.
And if your condition worsens and you need to be transferred to a higher-level medical facility, your travel insurance plan covers that transportation as part of medical evacuation coverage.
Related: Compare travel insurance quotes for 2021
If your travels take you to a remote location, like a Botswana safari or a private jeep tour of the Australian backcountry, it makes sense to have an extra layer of protection on top of travel insurance. It may be worth considering a medical transport subscription such as Medjet, which will take you on a private medical evacuation or private air ambulance to the hospital of your choice or even bring you back to the United States for medical treatment.
It is important to note that this is hospital-to-hospital transport only. Membership will not cover the cost of transportation to get you to your home.
In addition to Medjet, other companies offering this type of membership and service are International SOS, MedAire, SkyMed and Global Rescue.
What does an emergency transport membership cover?
A standard travel insurance policy will usually include emergency medical evacuation benefits that will take you to the nearest facility that can “adequately” treat your medical condition. But the closest suitable facility may not be a top medical facility or to your liking. This is where a Medjet subscription offers additional protection.
âAll Medjet subscriptions cover medical air transportation to a home hospital if you become ill or injured, and are hospitalized while traveling, including for Covid,â said Mike Hallman, CEO of Medjet. “No one wants to be stuck in a foreign hospital, so we make sure that doesn’t happen.”
For MedjetAssist members, Medjet makes all the arrangements: ground transportation, planes, pilots and intensive care personnel, and they stay in touch with your family and the host hospital. âWe pay for all transportation expenses,â says Hallman.
Medjet memberships also cover domestic travel: whenever you are more than 150 miles from your residence, you are entitled to the same medical transportation.
A MedjetHorizon subscription takes service up a notch by adding 24/7 security and crisis response for a wide range of security threats on the go. Hallman says this level of membership offers expert advice and in-country response when dealing with “violent crime, political threat, natural disaster, disappearance, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, wrongful detention” and other issues. which are of great concern to travelers. days.
Medjet also takes care of the repatriation of mortal remains. âIf someone dies in a foreign country, there are many places that can make it very difficult and very expensive to bring the body home,â Hallman said. âIt’s a complicated process and I don’t wish it on any grieving family. It’s just better to have someone who knows what they’re doing to take care of it.
How companies like Medjet are filling the insurance gap
Any medical evacuation coverage you have with your travel insurance, business travel benefits, credit card coverage, or personal health insurance (if you are traveling to the United States) is still valuable. But a membership like Medjet protects you even more.
âWe always recommend that people have travel insurance for hospital costs and trip interruptions. But the medical evacuation benefits of most travel insurance (or business insurance, or credit card or health insurance benefits) are strictly designed to get you to the nearest hospital in an emergency, âsays Hallman. .
The lack of a travel insurance plan may be that it typically focuses on staying at that hospital for treatment rather than returning home, Hallman explains. âThis is where we come in. We transport you to your home hospital even if the move is not âmedically necessaryâ. It is up to you to make the decision for the insurance company.
And medical repatriation (which Medjet does) is very expensive.
Because Medjet is a membership program, no insurance, there are no claim forms, no deductibles and no post-transport administrative processes.
âThere are no mountains of paperwork or personal expenses after a transport,â says Hallman. “We have had many members who have called after a transport, looking for the invoice to include in all of their other returns, and they are always very pleasantly surprised to find that there is none.”
Common reasons for using Medjet
Common reasons for using a Medjet subscription can range from crooked ankles and heart attacks to allergic reactions to injuries from car crashes.
Hallman says one patient was a doctor who volunteered at a clinic in the Galapagos Islands and had a seizure. âHer husband was back in the States and just wanted her to come home, so we had her brought home,â Hallman recalls.
Another member was a surfer who broke his neck in Nicaragua, where the hospital decided he couldn’t treat him and actually asked him to leave. âHis brother arranged for him to be admitted to a spine center in Florida, so we moved him there,â says Hallman.
Another member, a traveler to Egypt, slipped towards the pyramids and found himself in (what her husband described as) “a hospital full of cats”. Hallman says she was very relieved when the transport crew arrived to pick her up.
Who needs Medjet?
Hallman says anyone who travels could use a Medjet subscription.
âTraditionally, our MedjetAssist membership has attracted luxury travelers over the age of 50 a bit more. Before Covid, they were really the demographic group that cared the most about their health and their ability to return home to their own doctors and families in the event of a medical emergency, âHallman said. “But I think with Covid even the youngest travelers are now very worried about being stuck in a hospital somewhere, so our demographics definitely tend to go down a bit.”
With MedjetHorizon, which adds security services, Hallman reports that the typical customer is between 35 and 55 years old, especially those who travel alone frequently.
And he says families who send children overseas gravitate to MedjetHorizon as well. âThey want to be able to call someone for safety issues and be able to bring them home if they’re really sick or injured,â says Hallman.
What does Medjet not provide?
Medjet does not provide medical evacuation (medical evacuation) from the site of an accident. Your travel or health insurance “should cover your transport to the nearest hospital for stabilization in the event of an accident,” he says.
Plus, membership won’t provide a ride home just because you don’t feel good in your hotel room.
And if you go to the ER for, say, a simple wrist fracture or a cut, and you’re treated and fired, you’re not eligible, because if you’ve been discharged, you don’t need to. medical transport, says Hallman.
Unfortunately, you cannot purchase a post-illness or post-accident membership. You must register before the trip.
What is the cost of Medjet?
Short-term Medjet subscriptions start at $ 99. Annual memberships to MedjetAssist, where you can travel as much as you want in a year, up to 90 consecutive days abroad on a single trip, cost $ 295 for an individual, $ 399 for a family (two adults and up to five children).
MedjetHorizon short trip subscriptions start at $ 184 for an individual or $ 314 for a family.
There are special memberships for students and teachers, memberships for expats (for people who will be abroad for more than 90 days per trip), diamond memberships for people over 75 and a motorcycle membership, where not only do you get home but also get your bike to a home repair shop.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and her writing credits include NBC News, US News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and.