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Very Frequent Flyers Review the Best Medical Evacuation Insurance

Very Frequent Flyers Review the Best Medical Evacuation Insurance
Jeff Edwards

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What’s the best medical evacuation insurance? Do you need it at all? It depends on where and when you’re going. For travelers headed to developed destinations with modern medical facilities, travel evacuation insurance (TEI) might not be absolutely necessary.

But, for cruise ship passengers, those visiting places well off the beaten path, or those traveling in areas where the coronavirus may be crowding local hospitals, a good medical evacuation insurance policy could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But which medical evacuation policy should you get? Let’s take a look at the advice of the very frequent flyers in FlyerTalk’s Medical Evacuation thread.

 

The Best Travel Insurance 2

MedJet Assist

Not all medical evacuation insurance is created equal. And, in the words of one FlyerTalker, “if your concern is not wanting to have beancounters decide whether you have procedures ‘where you are’ vs. ‘at home’, you might look into MedJet Assist.”

They let you decide whether you’d like to receive care in the country you’re in (not an insurance agent or local medical staff that may be reluctant to declare themselves unable to competently care for you) or whether you’d like to be evacuated home–with proper ambulance-type aircraft and medical personnel–or to your hospital of choice (for US-based coverage).

The membership-only options, which are available for as little as $99, offer medical evacuation protection and top-tier options include evacuation in the case of natural disaster or civil unrest.

Pros:

  • Offers repatriation for travelers with covered medical emergencies
  • A number of coverage levels to choose from
  • Prior to age 75, no medical underwriting needed. At age 75 (age at new policy date), they require modest medical records.

Cons:

  • Only covers the cost of medical evacuation, does not include treatment or reimburse for travel disruptions
  • Membership required (but offers both annual and short-term memberships, and covers any travel more than 150 miles from home)

 

The Best Travel Insurance

Image Source: American Airlines

Access America

Access America TEI services are available as an add-on when purchasing airline tickets. The policies are somewhat more restrictive than subscription-based plans but are more easily tailored to a specific itinerary. The coverage provided through American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, among others, offers a budget-friendly option for a fixed time period for set destinations.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly options are available

Cons

  • Less comprehensive than many membership-based polices
  • Sold as part of a more general travel insurance package and includes less generous benefits than dedicated TIE products.

 

The Best Travel Insurance 3

The Travel Guard MedEvac Plan by AIG

Travel Guard MedEvac plans offer policies that are priced based on specific itineraries and can be added to other available travel insurance products offered by the insurance giant. Frequent flyers, however, note that, in this case, the devil may be in the details. While the policy promises “medical transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility and then home if warranted,” the definition of an adequate medical facility and the conditions in which an evacuee might be returned home are somewhat nebulous.

  • Less expensive than many membership-based TEI plans
  • Might be fine if traveling to destinations in the developed world, but might not be a good option if traveling on a cruise ship or in more isolated or less developed regions of the world.
  • Might not cover transportation to a hospital of your choosing
  • Likely will not get you home, except in cases of severe debilitation

The Best Travel Insurance 5

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Divers Alert Network

Diving enthusiasts are highly likely to find themselves in exotic and isolated locales and the hobby is not exactly without its inherent risks. Consequently, membership in the Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers some excellent options for comprehensive TEI plans. For travelers planning to make a diving excursion even a small part of an upcoming trip, a DAN membership might not only offer assistance in case of an accident or medical emergency but also offers a number of resources to help head off disaster in the first place.

  • Can be tailored to specific itineraries
  • Offers comprehensive coverage for accident, illness, natural disaster or political unrest
  • Divers Alert Network membership is required

 

The Best Travel Insurance

AAA

AAA members have access to a number of policies provided through Allianz Travel Insurance. The federation of North America-based automobile clubs offers many of the protection options available for DAN members, but with benefits much less focused on the diving-specific eventualities.

  • Coverage is provided through Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Steep member discounts are available
  • Less tied to specific hobby than similar plans offered through other travel clubs

 

The Best Travel Insurance

What’s in Your Wallet?

There is a fair chance the credit card already in your pocketbook offers at least some sort of TEI. The bad news is that figuring out exactly what sort of protection you are entitled to can take a lot of leg work and might not be the best option for itineraries involving multiple countries. Very frequent flyers, however, encourage checking the coverage you may already have through credit card memberships before committing to a potentially expensive policy for coverage you might already have.

 

The Best Travel Insurance 6

Other Resources

An impressive number of Flyertalk members relied on InsureMyTrip.com.The resource has the advantage of allowing travelers to compare a number of travel and medical evacuation policies from a number of different providers. The site offers direct quotes from providers and will even suggest circumstances in which TEI is unnecessary.

Likewise, the Flyertalk forums recommend consulting the U.S. Department of State website to help determine what level of medical evacuation insurance might be necessary. The Homeland Security agency frequently evaluates and provides updates on the relative quality of medical care available in a given country or region.

Ever found yourself in the unfortunate position of taking advantage of a medical evacuation rider in a travel insurance policy? Share your experiences (good and bad) with your fellow Flyertalkers on the Medical Evacuation Insurance thread.

View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. infmedic

    March 3, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    I’m not sure how you could write this article without mentioning ISOS and Global Rescue, but they are 2 of the largest providers in the world.

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