Medivac: The Critical Info You Need to Tackle a Medical Crisis When Traveling

Updated on October 29, 2021
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Most international travelers assume that their standard travel insurance will provide coverage for any costs incurred to get back home in case they get injured overseas. People think that it will be covered under medical evacuation. But most often that is not the case.

It is mentioned in fine prints that most travel insurance companies will only cover the costs of medical transportation to the nearest acceptable facility to where the patient is located. This means that the insurance company will decide which facility is the most suitable for the patient and will arrange for transportation to that facility. Once they have transported the patient to that particular facility, they have fulfilled their responsibility for evacuation. In case the patients are not sent home, they will have to bear the cost of reaching home, which can be quite expensive.

What Is Medevac?

Medical evacuation, which is shortened to medevac or medivac, is the service provided by organizations to arrange for prompt and effective transportation of people who are accidentally injured. Such evacuations are usually carried out from war zones, remote travel destinations, localities, and highways. The patients are also provided with adequate medical care en route by medical professionals. Medevac transposition can be done by air or ground ambulances, or a combination of both, depending on where the patient is evacuated. 

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

As stated before medical evacuation insurance is very different from the medical evacuation under travel insurance. The specific purpose of travel insurance is to compensate travelers for monetary losses incurred due to problems caused during their travel as well as minor medical emergencies. Some examples of things covered under travel insurance are:

  • Lost baggage
  • Flight delay or cancellation
  • Minor injury
  • Lost belongings
  • Theft

Probably the only area where they are inadequate is when someone is seriously injured or unwell, and they need care and assistance to be brought home. Travel insurance does not guarantee that they will be brought home safe and sound and most often travelers have to deal with the medical facilities on their own.

Why Is Medical Evacuation Insurance So Important?

In case travelers face a serious inquiry in a third world country or a remote location, they will have to navigate the medical process on their own. They might receive basic medical care, but that might not be adequate. More than 10 million travelers have to face a medical emergency during their overseas travel. Almost 20% of them are in dire need of medical evacuation. Medical evacuation can be quite expensive and costs can be $30,000 and upwards, sometimes reaching up to $200,000. 

Most people do not even have credit cards with such a high limit. Medical evacuation insurance can cover a patient’s transportation and evacuation costs while providing them medical assistance on the way. Even though such incidents are very rare, still no one would not want to be bankrupted because of an accident. Especially when they have the option to pay a much smaller fee and get the required insurance.

What Medevac Company Should Someone Look for in an Emergency?

Whether a traveler has insurance or not, choosing the right organization for medical evacuation is of utmost importance and can be a matter of life and death. Travelers need to choose a company that provides extensive medical transportation services all over the world. They should have an adequate number of air ambulances and medevac helicopters along with an expert team of medical staff. A company’s reputation matters in terms of medical evacuation and point-to-point transportation. A good medevac company will:

  • Transport a patient to a medical facility closest to their home.
  • Provide medical transportation by road or by air, or a combination of both.
  • Provide services on US soil as well as overseas.
  • They can provide emergency services promptly.
  • They can arrange for transportation arrangements via countries in case the patient cannot come home in one flight.
  • They can provide adequate medical facilities and attention en route.

Medevac During COVID-19 Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a global crisis to such an unprecedented extent that we have not faced for decades. Many travelers have fallen ill after coming in contact with the virus during their trip. A lot of these travelers are overseas and need to be brought back home to receive the best possible medical attention. Most people are under the notion that the evacuation and repatriation of these patients are not possible. Indeed, such patients cannot travel via regular means of transportation. However leading medevac companies are transporting Covid-19 patients in specially equipped ground and air ambulances. Patients make the trip in specially created insulated cells, which have a continuous independent flow of oxygen all through the duration of the flight. A flight doctor with adequate experience is also present in the flight to look after the patient. 

No one can envision if something might go wrong during their trip. However, accidents, natural calamities, and other emergencies can take place without any warning. So it is always better to be prepared. As President Franklin had said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.