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The Yukon, where being out so far in the wilderness may be pretty, but if you have an accident it's far from help.
The Yukon, Canada

If you are thinking of traveling where medical care is either poor or nonexistent or somewhere dangerous and war torn, then you should consider investing in a medical evacuation (medevac) plan.

Regular travel insurance companies will not provide the kinds of rescue and advice services as medevac companies.  Before traveling, think of where you are going and what the worst-case scenario could be, then choose your plan. Below are some scenarios where travelers were glad they planned ahead and got the coverage. The stories below are all true stories.

Scenario One: A True Story

You are hiking through the remote Colca canyon in Peru on a narrow trail 8,500 feet high. You suddenly lose your footing and tumble 50 feet down a steep slope. You call your regular travel insurance company and they tell you to get to a hospital and then they can assist you. How are you going to get up the canyon (when you have multiple broken bones) and to the hospital to get the help you need?

Scenario Two

You are visiting Beirut in the Middle East to see the beautiful architecture and discover a new culture when suddenly civilian infrastructure, including the nearest airport is attacked and destroyed by air strikes and artillery fire.  A lack of evacuation options leaves you stranded; everyone you are with is ok, but how do you get out safely?

Scenario Three

You are on a camping trip deep in the woods of a beautiful isolated territory of Yukon, Canada. Suddenly you find yourself suffering from a potentially life-threatening blood clot. Because regulations prevent doctors from prescribing medications across borders, how are you going to get the appropriate care needed to survive?

Scenario Four

You are on spring break in a remote location in the Caribbean. Suddenly, during your trip you contract a debilitating virus from contaminated water that begins to spread to your nervous system within hours of contraction. You need medical attention ASAP but the medical care on the island is either poor or nonexistent, how do you get medical help?

Cessna Citation jet, one of the planes used for Medevacs.
Cessna Citation jet, one way to get medevaced out of a country.

Medical Evacuation

Fortunately, for all four instances you have a medical evacuation plan. Medevac covers the cost of an air ambulance, attending physician and nurse, which without insurance could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Medevac plans also cover the cost of bringing you home. 

Regular insurance companies will usually leave you wherever you are, if they determine the facility is “adequate” to provide care. They will usually only transport you when they decide it is necessary, and only to the “closest appropriate” hospital or location. You will rarely be transported back to the U.S.

Most health insurance, travel insurance, platinum card programs or SOS hotlines do not respond in a timely manner and do not have in-house medical and security professionals to deploy to the location of crisis anywhere on the planet. Some insurance companies fail to answer the phone of their 24-hour hotlines or are slow doing so.

Another thing to keep in mind is that regular insurance companies do not have persons to deploy to the scene of a crisis. It is up to you to get to a hospital and only then will they begin their help. If you find yourself in the middle of nowhere in critical condition, a regular insurance company is not going to be what you need. You will need to be rescued and evacuated.

The four scenarios listed above actually occurred and the people in them were saved by Global Rescue emergency response service. People who have medevac membership plan with Global Rescue can be helped from anywhere in the world in the most difficult conditions while regular insurance companies will not come find you stranded in the wilderness.

Global Rescue

Global Rescue provides world-class medical and security response, advice and evacuation. They provide the medical and security expertise combined with an ability to deploy their own professionals to the exact location of your emergency and transport you to your destination of choice.

“Some providers will only bring you to the closest ‘appropriate’ hospital.  We don’t believe in the closest ‘appropriate’ hospital.  If you want to go to Boston, we will take you to Boston,” said John Moretti of Global Rescue. 

Ecuador's wilderness...are you prepared if you slip off the cliff?
Ecuador's wilderness.

When the emergency is far from civilization, Global Rescue can send field rescue teams to where their members are. When a natural disaster strikes or political turmoil escalates to civil unrest, members who have upgraded to Global Rescue’s security membership can be immediately transported home safely.

One thing to keep in mind is that Global Rescue and a few other medevac companies are not insurance companies. You will not get billed months down the road. The plan you choose covers everything from the rescue to the hospital. You sign up and don’t have to worry about bills. 

“We are going to take care of it from beginning to end and the phone call a month later to see how you are,” said Moretti.

Another important factor about Global Rescue is that if you are transported to a local hospital where English is not spoken, Global Rescue will send a paramedic to your bedside to coordinate and translate with the doctors so you are aware of the situation and are comfortable with the decisions made.

Global Rescue is also the only company to have a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine, ranked #1 in the world for 18 consecutive years. This partnership provides members with the best resources and international network of the world’s finest hospitals that offer local care when needed. Global Rescue is also the official provider of aeromedical services to the US Ski and Snowboard team and The American Alpine Club.

Think About Your Destination and Activities

If you are going on a hiking expedition in Peru or a hunting excursion in Africa, you will most likely want to consider investing in medevac. Regular travel insurance companies will not come find and rescue you! It is up to you to get to a hospital. Medevac companies and Global Rescue specialize in pinpointing your location and transporting you. Field rescue is their forte. 

Read the Fine Print

Be sure to read the fine print of your regular health insurance and your travel insurance. Many health insurance programs will cover you abroad, so there is no need to buy travel insurance. However, if you are not covered and are worried about the cost of replacing lost luggage or a cancelled flight, then travel insurance is a good alternative. But, if you’re primarily concerned with access to medical resources and transportation in an emergency, there are better options than travel insurance, and medevac is one of them.

More about medevac and Global Rescue www.globalrescue.com/

Maggie Freleng

 

 

 

Maggie Freleng is an editorial assistant at GoNOMAD. She is a student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.


 

 

 

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