Medical Evacuation & Repatriation: Which is Best, Insurance or Membership?

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2015 by

MedjetAssistTravelers that want to protect themselves in the event of unforeseen illness or injury when traveling abroad have two choices:

1. They can join a membership service provider who specializes in medical evacuation and repatriation services; or 2. Buy an insurance policy that provides medical evacuation and repatriation services.

If you are the type of person who buys insurance based on an agent’s recommendation, stay sharp. The company handling your travel medical care and medical repatriation may have the bulk of its experience in car insurance.

What is Medical Evacuation & Repatriation?

There are three components to most medical evacuation and repatriation schemas that are constant irrespective of where they come from. They are,

1. Emergency Medical Evacuation

2. Return of Mortal Remains/ Repatriation of Remains

3. Travel Assistance Services

These are the core services, let’s explore them further.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Screen shot 2015-10-18 at 8.56.04 PMWith most insurance carriers, emergency medical evacuation means transporting you to the nearest qualified medical facility which may or may not be in your home country. Some plans will bring you home once you are stable, but this is not uniform among medical evacuation insurance providers – check your insurance before you go.

However, when using a high-quality medical evacuation and repatriation membership group, you are eligible to be flown to a medical facility of your choice in your home country. For instance, following a fall in a foreign country, a member has suffered severe orthopedic problems. The member leaves in New York City, but family and friends are in Chicago. The member will need six weeks of extensive rehabilitation and as the member just moved to New York wants to go to a facility in Chicago where there is a complete support system of friends and family. With a membership program, you decide where you go for treatment, with an insurance plan you go to the closest medical facility. Often, this is in the country you are visiting. Clearly, if you want medical treatment in your home country, a membership program is the best option.

Check out the chart below.

Screen shot 2015-10-18 at 8.36.16 PM

Return of Mortal Remains/ Repatriation of Remains

Screen shot 2015-10-18 at 8.50.37 PMIt is unfortunate, but travelers do pass away while on trips to foreign countries. Under a traveler’s medical repatriation program, there are deductibles and often limits on how much financial help you receive to return mortal remains home.

The costs associated with sending a deceased home depend on the country he or she is being sent home from – it is expensive and complicated. Travel insurance benefits often provide only the costs of transportation.

But, membership services covers the transport of mortal remains if death occurs more than 150 miles from home. For international transport, services of membership programs cover,

  • Arrange and pay for all necessary government authorization;
  • Provide a container appropriate for transportation; and
  • Return the remains to the member’s place of residence for burial.

Travel Assistance Services

Buying insurance for travel medical emergency evacuation and repatriation is often difficult to understand. Every insurance provider offers differing, and sometimes, no additional travel services. Often insurance buyers need riders and additional coverages for complete coverage.

On the other hand, a membership program offers loads of additional services without worrying about additional costs. These services include,

  • Medical referrals
  • Medical Monitoring and Consultation
  • Telephone Foreign Language Interpretation.
  • Emergency Message Replay
  • Legal Referrals (attorney fees are member’s responsibility)
  • Visa, Passport and Immunization Requirements

Membership emergency medical transport and medical repatriation services have a clear advantage over insurance programs providing similar coverage. Travelers agree that the ‘go to’ membership company is MedjetAssist. Call today, the phone number is 1-800-527-7478.

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