There’s No Place Like Home

It is prudent to prepare for worst case scenarios for all of your travel. African safaris include remote areas. The Galapagos Islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And even a weekend getaway to Las Vegas can become a nightmare if you are injured in an auto accident. If your return home requires air ambulance service, the cost can be high. Transport within the continental US can be $30,000 or more. International transport can cost over $200,000, depending on your medical condition and location.

Medical Evacuation Programs

You can prepare for medical emergency transport with membership in a medical evacuation program. In addition to covering the full cost of your transport, these programs take care of the details. They provide qualified medical staff to care for you during the transport, and plan and execute your journey to a home-area hospital of your choice. They provide “bedside to bedside” service by any means necessary, including critical care equipped aircraft, ground ambulances, helicopters, and float planes.

A medical evacuation program is not insurance; it is a membership plan in addition to any travel insurance that you may purchase. While travel insurance may include medical evacuation, it is typically limited to evacuation to the nearest hospital equipped to address your emergency. It is your responsibility to get yourself home, whether that entails hundreds of miles or crossing oceans.

Program Details

Two of the most prominent programs are AirMed and MedJet. Both provide comprehensive services:

  • Domestic and international travel over 150 miles from home.
  • Air ambulances equipped and staffed for critical care.
  • Transport from the originating hospital to the home-area hospital of your choice.
  • Repatriation services (fees, paperwork, etc. for international transport).
  • Mortal remains transport.
  • Maximum of 2 medical transports per annual membership.
  • Full cost of medical transport is included with no maximum cap.
  • No deductible, co-pay, or claim forms.
  • No medical exam required. (Exception: MedJet requires medical questionnaire and/or exam for members 75-84 years old.)

Both offer some optional plans, such as domestic-only travel, student or faculty study-abroad, and extended stay/ex-pat memberships.

MedJet also offers an add-on option, MedJetHorizon, which adds crisis response and evacuation service for non-medical emergencies, including terrorism, natural disasters, political threats, pandemics, and violent crime.

Annual membership fees for each program are reasonable and affordable—under $300 for individuals or $400 for families—regardless of the number of annual trips. The MedJetHorizon add-on option is under $200 for individuals or families. (Although Parker, Smith & Feek does not sell memberships or receive compensation from these companies, our clients are eligible for discounts; contact your Account Advisor for how to access discounted memberships.)

To learn more or purchase a membership, go directly to the program websites: www.airmed.com or www.medjet.com.

There’s No Place Like Home

Travel can take us anywhere within a matter of hours. Along with new sites, cultures, adventures, and experiences, we are exposed to challenges and dangers, including being stranded far from home in a medical emergency. Every year, over 2 million travelers require medical transport—it happens more often than we would like to think.

If you travel, consider enrolling in an evacuation program. It will not only cover unexpected transport costs, but will give you peace of mind. There is no place like home, especially when you are ill, injured, and feeling vulnerable. Medical evacuation programs have the equipment, professional staff, knowledge, and experience to take care of you and your loved ones, facilitating your return home every step of the way.

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The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.