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Recommendations for/Experience with Air Ambulance Services?

Recommendations for/Experience with Air Ambulance Services?

Old Feb 6, 15, 12:27 pm
  #1  
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Recommendations for/Experience with Air Ambulance Services?

I'm looking for recommendation/information on air ambulance services. I don't need one right now. However, as we get older and have more little illnesses, I want to know the best way to get home, if the need arises. I've seen some websites that list hundreds of companies that provide such services. However, I don't want to just choose from a list. I'd like to have several options and keep the list in my wallet - and hopefully, never look at it!

Have any of you ever used such a service or had experience with medical air transport? What suggestions do you have?

Thank you.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 12:32 pm
  #2  
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Where do you live that you would be outside of ground ambulance range? That may help a bit
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Old Feb 6, 15, 12:35 pm
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Well, we live in NC, but spent last week in southern California. We're going to Montana next month. I'm also asking on behalf of friends, who are traveling here in the US. Also asking because friend broke hip on ski slope in Colorado last week and had challenges coming home in a rented car. Hope this makes sense - I'm just planning for the "what ifs"
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Old Feb 6, 15, 12:50 pm
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Recommendations for/Experience with Air Ambulance Services?

I've worked for several air ambulance services, both helicopter and fixed wing. In the long-haul fixed-wing market, almost every service offers national service, since the planes are easily relocated. This market is very competitive because of this, as well as the fact that this sort of service is seldom covered by health insurance, so it is very often cash up front.
If you are choosing the service, the most important thing is to insist upon a CAMTS or EURAMI accredited service. CAMTS publishes a list of all accredited services on their website.
If you think that it is likely that you will need such a service, you should look into obtaining specific insurance that covers long-haul, not medically necessary air medical transport. This is often referred to as "repatriation" and is seldom covered by traditional health insurance. Typically, the travel/adventure insurance carrier will arrange the transport using their network of air ambulance services.
Another option to consider is that some air ambulance services offer a "membership" program where you pay them a small membership fee annually, in exchange for a guarantee of no balance billing when you use their service (they accept whatever your insurance pays as payment in full). These are typically for helicopter (short-haul/regional) services. I don't know if any long-haul services have this available.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 12:58 pm
  #5  
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fpc552 - That's exactly what I was looking for. If I go to the CAMTS site, it gives me list of accredited programs. This is a great starting point, should the need ever arise.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 2:00 pm
  #6  
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I would be concerned in many other countries but not in the U.S. However, in the U.S., most small towns don't have trauma centers so if you have a bad head injury, you may need to go to a bigger city. Driving a motorcycle at 100 mph in western Kansas is dangerous because the nearest trauma center might be in Denver or Kansas City.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 2:21 pm
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there is quite a bit of discussion of https://medjetassist.com/ and similar on FT

i recall seeing discussion of actually using evacuation insurance and being evacuated
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Old Feb 6, 15, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
there is quite a bit of discussion of https://medjetassist.com/ and similar on FT

i recall seeing discussion of actually using evacuation insurance and being evacuated
I have subscribed to MedJetassist for many years. Fortunately, I've never had to use it, but they are moderately priced and also have an AARP discount.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 5:00 pm
  #9  
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I also subscribe to MedJet. We travel extensively throughout the world. A year or two back, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) was in the Galapagos when he had a medical emergency (kidney stones). I thought about buying such insurance for years, but this really was the tipping point for me.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 10:43 pm
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I'm not sure why you want a list. If you require an ambulance, call 911, and they will send you either a ground or air ambulance, whichever is more appropriate for the circumstances.
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Old Feb 6, 15, 11:55 pm
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
If you require an ambulance, call 911, and they will send you either a ground or air ambulance, whichever is more appropriate for the circumstances.
A friend was in Delhi on business. She had a heart attack. It was essential that she be returned to the US for medical care. The company contracted with a service that flew a private ambulance with medical team to Delhi, medevaced her to Singapore, then determined she could fly on a commercial service to LAX with an accompanying doctor. There the flight was met with an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital in San Diego for treatment. This was 15 years ago. The cost was roughly $250K. I'd prefer that if I should be in a similar situation, I not have to personally carry that cost.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
... If you require an ambulance, call 911, ...
911 is pretty much useless anywhere but in the US and even here they are only going to get you to the nearest emergency facility, not home for best treatment and care.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 1:47 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
A friend was in Delhi on business. She had a heart attack. It was essential that she be returned to the US for medical care. The company contracted with a service that flew a private ambulance with medical team to Delhi, medevaced her to Singapore, then determined she could fly on a commercial service to LAX with an accompanying doctor. There the flight was met with an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital in San Diego for treatment. This was 15 years ago. The cost was roughly $250K. I'd prefer that if I should be in a similar situation, I not have to personally carry that cost.
Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
911 is pretty much useless anywhere but in the US and even here they are only going to get you to the nearest emergency facility, not home for best treatment and care.
Yes, but OP said that he/she is traveling within the US, so I was answering accordingly.

For international travel, such a plan may be a good idea.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
Yes, but OP said that he/she is traveling within the US, so I was answering accordingly.

For international travel, such a plan may be a good idea.
Even within the US, there can be a need. Allow me to illustrate with this choose your own adventure:

You decide to travel to somewhere more than (200/300/500/insert your threshold) miles from home for (business/tourism/spend the winter somewhere warm). While you are there, you (slip and fall/have a stroke/have your leg bitten by a lion). 911 is called, a local ambulance takes you to the closest appropriate medical facility and your are treated. After a few days, your acute care is done. If you were a local, you would be discharged (in a ground ambulance) to a local skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, as you are not ready to be discharged home. (You/your spouse/your adult children) would prefer that you convalesce at a facility closer to your home, but (your doctors will not clear you for air travel unless it is an air ambulance/you cannot sit upright, even in domestic F, for the time required/your leg is in a cast and you can't bend your knee at all). To be transported to the facility closer to home, you will need to be flown on a stretcher. US domestic carriers used to offer this service (you would fold down three rows of seats and install a special stretcher over them), but as the process of installing and removing the stretcher delays turn-arounds, as well as the process of boarding and deplaning a patient on a stretcher being quite lengthy, so very few, if any, domestic carriers offer this service. You are now forced to either convalesce in a facility far from home and family, or charter an air ambulance. Your health insurance will not pay the cost of an air ambulance, as the local skilled nursing facility is the closest appropriate facility, so the long-distance transport is "not medically necessary."

When I was working in this industry, it was very common for us to transport retired folks from hospitals in Florida to rehab in the northeast. It was very seasonal, we would be very busy between New Year's and Easter. The most common conditions were stroke, heart attack, broken hip and pneumonia.

Typical cost for a light jet air ambulance (small Learjet or Citation) flight from central Florida to Long Island might be in the range of $10,000-$20,000. Remember, what you're doing is chartering a private jet with two highly experienced healthcare providers as flight attendants. Not an inexpensive proposition. Of, that price is all-inclusive: a crew of four (Captain, FO, RN and Paramedic), fuel and ground ambulance service at both ends. There is typically space for 1-2 family members to accompany, along with a limited amount of luggage. You won't accumulate any miles, though as I said before, you'll probably be stuck paying out of pocket, so make sure you get a few credit card sign-up bonuses, though I suggest that there are better ways to manufacture spend.
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Old Feb 7, 15, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by fpc552 View Post
Even within the US, there can be a need. Allow me to illustrate with this choose your own adventure:

You decide to travel to somewhere more than (200/300/500/insert your threshold) miles from home for (business/tourism/spend the winter somewhere warm). While you are there, you (slip and fall/have a stroke/have your leg bitten by a lion). 911 is called, a local ambulance takes you to the closest appropriate medical facility and your are treated. After a few days, your acute care is done. If you were a local, you would be discharged (in a ground ambulance) to a local skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation, as you are not ready to be discharged home. (You/your spouse/your adult children) would prefer that you convalesce at a facility closer to your home, but (your doctors will not clear you for air travel unless it is an air ambulance/you cannot sit upright, even in domestic F, for the time required/your leg is in a cast and you can't bend your knee at all). To be transported to the facility closer to home, you will need to be flown on a stretcher. US domestic carriers used to offer this service (you would fold down three rows of seats and install a special stretcher over them), but as the process of installing and removing the stretcher delays turn-arounds, as well as the process of boarding and deplaning a patient on a stretcher being quite lengthy, so very few, if any, domestic carriers offer this service. You are now forced to either convalesce in a facility far from home and family, or charter an air ambulance. Your health insurance will not pay the cost of an air ambulance, as the local skilled nursing facility is the closest appropriate facility, so the long-distance transport is "not medically necessary."

When I was working in this industry, it was very common for us to transport retired folks from hospitals in Florida to rehab in the northeast. It was very seasonal, we would be very busy between New Year's and Easter. The most common conditions were stroke, heart attack, broken hip and pneumonia.

Typical cost for a light jet air ambulance (small Learjet or Citation) flight from central Florida to Long Island might be in the range of $10,000-$20,000. Remember, what you're doing is chartering a private jet with two highly experienced healthcare providers as flight attendants. Not an inexpensive proposition. Of, that price is all-inclusive: a crew of four (Captain, FO, RN and Paramedic), fuel and ground ambulance service at both ends. There is typically space for 1-2 family members to accompany, along with a limited amount of luggage. You won't accumulate any miles, though as I said before, you'll probably be stuck paying out of pocket, so make sure you get a few credit card sign-up bonuses, though I suggest that there are better ways to manufacture spend.
I guess anything is possible, but to me, the odds of this happening are low enough that I wouldn't consider it necessary to insure against it if I am traveling to a location where medical facilities are available nearby. Of course, OP has to evaluate his/her financial situation and decide.
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