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Travel Tip: Facts of Medical Evacuation

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No one likes to think about getting sick or injured on the road, but it pays to know what kinds of situations you could be facing.

According to the US Travel Insurance Association, most patients requiring medical transport fall into four categories: cardiac, respiratory, surgical or orthopedic trauma.

The CDC cites injuries as another main reason that travelers are taken back to the U.S. by air medical transport.

If you have a medical emergency, you’re usually taken to a local hospital to be stabilized. That could be whether you’re on a cruise ship, on the top of a mountain, or simply in a foreign country.

The size and equipment on an air ambulance varies—depending on what you need. But operating one of those can cost upwards of $3,000 an hour.

Then, if you need further care and you have a medical evacuation plan or membership, they have their own physicians who consult with the ones on the ground.

That could mean being repatriated back to the U.S.— out of pocket, that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

My advice is to look for a program that lets you make the final call on whether you should be evacuated and repatriated to a hospital of your choice…not theirs.

For more information visit the Travel Health and Travel Insurance archives.

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