Do You Need Medical Evacuation Insurance?

Allison Martin
Medical Evacuation

Medical evacuation insurance may seem like a dramatic policy to purchase, but getting evacuated as a result of an accident or medical emergency can be extremely costly. This is especially the case if you prefer to select the medical facility you evacuate to if an emergency arises.

Do You Need Coverage?

According to SquareMouth, a leading provider of this type of coverage, expenses can range from $25,000 to $250,000. Depending on your travel plans and riskiness of activities you plan to engage in, it may be wise to consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Areas that are not technologically advanced
  • Remote or impoverished areas with limited access to suitable medical facilities
  • Cruises as they will require that you be airlifted in the event of a medical emergency

Medical Evacuation Insurance Explained

This type of insurance may be included in your regular health insurance policy. In many instances, however, medical evacuation is either not included at all within the policy or there is a monetary cap as to how much money the insurance company will cover for this expense. Buying a medical evacuation policy separately will either augment your existing coverage or will supply you with coverage you don't have at all through your health insurer.

It is also important to understand that medical evacuation comes in different forms.

Emergency evacuation

If you are involved in an accident, such as an automobile collision, hiking accident or any other occurrence that may warrant an airlift to a medical facility, this is considered an emergency evacuation and may not be fully covered by a standard health insurance policy.

Medical transport

If you are traveling away from home and you become hospitalized, your health insurance policy probably will not cover the cost of transporting you to the hospital of your choice. You will either have to stay at the hospital in the local area, which may be substandard, or you will have to pay for your own medical evacuation to an acceptable medical facility.

A medical evacuation insurance policy will cover the cost in both of the above instances. Considering how much a medical evacuation can cost (in some instances, tens of thousands of dollars), an evacuation policy can make a lot of sense.

Types of Coverage

The cost of this type of insurance depends largely on what company you purchase the policy from and the amount of coverage you select.

International Coverage

This policy is designed for people traveling away from home either for business or on vacation. Policies can be purchased for a specific length of time. The average cost for this coverage is around $5 a day with a minimum monetary obligation for each policy.

Frequent Traveler Coverage

This policy is ongoing, designed for people who frequently travel to a variety of locations either for business or on vacation. The cost of this policy varies, depending on the needs of the traveler.

Student Coverage

This policy is designed specifically for students who are traveling abroad. The coverage covers students who travel abroad for studies or for recreation. Costs are usually on a monthly premium basis. Policies are typically available to students as long as they are enrolled in school.

Single Trip Insurance

This coverage is specific to one trip and is usually bundled in a package along with trip cancelation insurance and lost baggage coverage.

Group Plans

These plans are offered to groups, either for tourist travel or for companies that frequently send travelers abroad. Discounts are usually offered for these policies, but they may not be as customizable as an individual policy

Existing Coverage

If you receive health insurance via a federal program, such as Medicare and Medicaid, medical evacuation insurance is not covered. In addition, standard health insurance policies may offer coverage, but only up to a certain percentage.

However, some premium credit cards or association groups offer this coverage to members at no extra charge.

Before purchasing a policy, check with your insurance provider, credit card company or association to find out if this coverage is included in your policy.

How to Evaluate Policies

Below are helpful questions to ask your provider prior to selecting a medical evacuation insurance policy that best suits your needs.

  • Is transportation to the United States covered, and are there any specific limitations?
  • Are there any exclusions for pre-existing conditions?
  • What high-risk activities are excluded from coverage?
  • Are pre-authorizations required for surgery?
  • Are the expenses associated with the attending physician covered?
  • Is customer service available 24/7?
  • Where can I find reviews on your organization?
  • Are you an accredited provider?

Responses to these inquiries should provide you with a more thorough understanding of the provider and their offerings.

Reputable Providers

Check with your existing insurer to find out what coverage you already have before purchasing additional coverage. If your insurer does not offer this type of policy, check out the offerings from companies like these listed:

IMG Medical Group

Established in 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana, IMG has served over one million customers and was recently recognized by Fortune at the Inner City 100 Awards for their rapid growth. Sky Rescue Insurance, offered through IMG Medical Group, caters to individuals and groups that are traveling for an extended period of time, working abroad and residing in various countries throughout the year.

Square Mouth

In the event of a medical emergency, SquareMouth provides transportation to a hospital closest to your current location or near your home. They are headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida and are among Inc. 5000's Top Insurance Companies for 2013.

USI Infinity

Through its partner, WorldMed Insurance, USI Infinity offers medical evacuation insurance for periods ranging from 5 to 364 days. The inbound and outbound coverage options are accompanied by deductibles between $0 and $1,000. Currently, the company oversees coverage for over 20,000,000 members and 400 associations in the United States.

MedJet Assist

Operating as a domestic and global air medical transport system in the United States, MedJet Assist takes care of the costs associated with medical evacuation if you become hospitalized at a location that is more than 150 miles from your primary residence. The company is located in Birmingham, Alabama and has access to over 300 aircraft. Current associations they provide occasional coverage for include the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), National Football League (NFL) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Travel Guard

With industry experience exceeding 20 years, Travel Guard offers medical evacuation coverage on an annual or per-trip basis. Their products cater to those who frequently travel on business or abroad.

Selecting the Right Policy for You

When searching for a policy that best suits your needs, you may want to also consider using an insurance broker website to compare several policies at once.

Do You Need Medical Evacuation Insurance?