Should You Invest in a Medical Transport Plan?

An aerial view of the Yukon River, the site of the longest canoe and kayak race in the world. Photos by Sonja Stark. Medjet
An aerial view of the Yukon River, the site of the longest canoe and kayak race in the world. Photos by Sonja Stark.

Air Medical Transport Membership Programs vs. MedEvac and Travel Insurance

By Maggie Freleng

Medjet Air Medical Transfer Testimonials

The medical evacuation benefits of travel insurance (and health insurance for those traveling domestically), are only geared toward providing medical evacuation to the nearest “acceptable” hospital.

For those travelers who prefer to be able to get all the way back, to a hospital at home, membership in an air-medical transport program like Medjet is necessary. Add Covid-19 worries for those starting to travel again now, to places in the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica that have opened their borders again, and belonging an air medical transport membership like Medjet (which does transport Covid patients with certain restrictions), is more essential than ever.

Below are some of the scenarios that have played out in real life in which Medjet has been able to provide lifesaving help to their members, in a wide variety of situations around the world.

Empty Nesters Opt For Travel, Protected By Medjet

Medjet can get you medically evacuated to a hospital at home.
Medjet can get you medically evacuated to a hospital at home.

With children grown and out of the house, it may be time to relish your own newfound freedom. Just remember to exercise a little caution so that even unexpected setbacks can be taken in stride. Dr. Samuel J. Bracken, Jr., and his wife, Joyce, learned the value of precautionary measures after Mrs. Bracken was injured in Rome last November.

A Slip at the Pyramids Lands Her in a Hospital “Filled With Cats”

Medjet made sure Jeannie Walla got to a hospital at home in Los Angeles when she slipped and fell at the Pyramids in Egypt. Her hospital in Cairo used cats as a method of rodent control (actually a common practice in some countries). “There were so many cats,” said her husband, Tom. “I can’t imagine her being stuck there.”

A Terrifying Ski Trip that Ended with a Leg Broken in 12 Places

Medjet made arrangements to bring Dr. McLain home to Birmingham as soon as she was medically stable for travel. “As a doctor, you get used to all the red tape and delays of dealing with insurance companies,” Dr. McLain says.

How Much Does a Medical Evacuation Cost? Find out

“Dealing with Medjet was a totally different experience. We called them at a time when our lives were disrupted and full of anxiety. They took total control of all arrangements to transport me home. All details were considered, and each and every contact was courteous, compassionate, and helpful. Medjet transported me promptly, safely, and professionally. They surpassed even my highest expectations.”

A Surfer Breaks His Neck

Pem’s brother and nephew took him to the nearest hospital in Nicaragua. Told that the hospital cannot treat the injury, the facility actually asked them to leave. Pem’s brother, a physician, arranged for him to be treated at a top spinal facility in the US. Medjet arranged transport to that facility, as opposed to his home hospital. Medjet has no “adventure travel” exclusions, nor motorcycle riding exclusions, so it is a good option for active travelers.

Two Travel Agents Wind Up Taking Their Own Advice

Travel agents Pat and Bob Watson faithfully carry their Medjet card on their many travels, and they have always encouraged Medjet travel medical protection for their clients. The pair has a newfound appreciation for Medjet since their own brush with a medical crisis on a return trip from Hong Kong. The husband and wife team run Watson and Watson, LTD, in Scarsdale, New York. They were on the first leg of their journey home from an overseas symposium for Virtuoso Travel Agents when something went terribly wrong.

Jungle Stalker

As Garfield Beckstead made his way through the jungles of Zimbabwe last summer, he was unaware that a silent stalker was with him, waiting for the kill. But his stalker had no fur or fangs; it was his own beating heart.

Geoffrey Weill Breaks Ankle on Andean Peak

Cessna Citation jet, one way to get medevaced out of a country. Medjet medical transport
Cessna Citation jet, one way to get medevac-ed out of a country.

Geoffrey Weill experienced every traveler’s worst nightmare. He not only lived to tell the tale but also experienced it in the most pampered and spectacular fashion possible. “Any traveler who doesn’t take advantage of this membership truly should stay at home,” said Geoffrey.

A Graduation Trip Ends in the Emergency Room

Eileen Shirk was heading down a highway in Acapulco, Mexico, with a Jeep full of friends when she saw the headlights of a tanker truck dead ahead. The next thing the 22-year-old remembers, she was waking up in the emergency room surrounded by people she couldn’t understand.

An ATV Accident in a Tropical Paradise

Sixty-year-old Norine Gettys proposed a special outing for her family during a fall trip to their favorite Hawaiian island, Kauai. Climbing aboard All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) the group followed a guide into a lush jungle, planning to picnic at a local waterfall. Just one hour into the excursion, things went drastically wrong.

Injured Missionary Jets Home From Russia

Minister Clifford Lyons of Oklahoma routinely travels to northern Russia to take humanitarian aid to hospitals, schools, and individuals, but it was he who needed help last December when a car ran a red light and hit him on a street in Murmansk, Russia.

Locked down in France, Medjethorizon comes to the rescue during the pandemic.
Locked down in France, Medjethorizon comes to the rescue during the pandemic.

Medjethorizon Comes to the Rescue in France

Top travel writer Christopher Elliott and his three teenage children were locked down in Nice, France when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Being Medjethorizon members, with security and crisis response benefits, Medjet’s security partners checked in on the family daily until it was possible, and safe enough, to arrange transportation home for them, which was also paid for.

Elliott gratefully described the “excellent” service membership afforded him in a Forbes magazine article.

Medical Evacuation

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.

“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 a Medjet staff member.

One thing to keep in mind is that Medjet and a few other medevac companies are not insurance companies. You will not get billed months down the road “We are going to take care of it from beginning to end and the phone calls a month later to see how you are,” said the official from Medjet.

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 canceled flight, then travel insurance is a good alternative.

But, if you’re primarily concerned with access to medical resources and air-medical transportation back home to the hospital of your choice in an emergency, there are better options than travel insurance, and Medjet is one of them.

Comparing Medical Flight & Medical Repatriation Services

MedjetAssist is a membership program, not a health insurance plan or travel insurance plan. As a membership program, it offers more and better services…and better value. Unlike the competition, MedjetAssist arranges a medical flight and medical repatriation services for its members, both worldwide and domestically.

Our members choose if they want to continue their hospital care at their home hospital, or any other hospital of their choice in their home country, through our network of authorized affiliates. And there are no additional costs to worry about and no limits on total air-medical transport expenses.

No Medical Necessity

Medjet members are transferred without regard to medical necessity. This means members, as long as they are hospitalized as an inpatient, can choose to be transferred to another hospital in their home country, even if the facility they are in is considered adequate. The choice is theirs. It’s that simple!

In contrast, health and travel insurance plans and platinum card benefits require that a transfer is medically required. In other words, as long as the care at a hospital is deemed adequate, transferring to another hospital is not an option.

In contrast, health and travel insurance plans and platinum card benefits require that a transfer is medically required. In other words, as long as the care at a hospital is deemed adequate, transferring to another hospital is not an option.

No Cost Limits

Medjet has no limit on the cost of a medical transfer. Many companies and insurance plans place caps, some as low as $25,000, on the total amount available for an air-ambulance. But a medical transfer between Europe and America can run more than $100,000. The Middle East and South American flights range from $60,000 to $130,000. Transfer from Asia often exceeds $180,000.

Domestic Transfers

Only Medjet arranges medical flight services within the United States as well as abroad. Travel insurance plans and platinum card benefits only cover travel in other countries. If a Medjet member becomes ill or injured and is hospitalized while traveling 150 miles or more from their primary residence as listed on their membership in the U.S. or abroad, Medjet will arrange transfer to the member’s home hospital or the hospital of their choice in their home country.

Enroll in MedjetAssist Now

Annual memberships are available to residents of the United States, Canada, and Mexico who travel domestically and internationally.

Enroll Now

Membership Options:

Annual MedjetAssist Membership $295.00
Annual MedjetAssist Family Membership $399.00
Short-Term MedjetAssist Membership
Starting At $99.00

Annual MedJetHorizon Membership $444
Annual Family MedjetHorizon Membership $578

Domestic Travel Only, Student/Faculty, and Diamond Memberships, for those age $75+ are also available.

More Information on Membership Options

More about Medjet at

maggie frelengMaggie Freleng is a former editorial assistant at GoNOMAD. She is now a radio and podcast producer in New York City. 

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2 thoughts on “Should You Invest in a Medical Transport Plan?

  1. I have the same complaint. We paid nearly $1000 for this insurance in 2020. All of our trips were cancelled. We hope to reschedule in 2021 but won’t know until at least mid-year if we will be able to. They offered no extension or price accommodation – even my auto insurance provided a rebate in view of the reduced travel in 2020! Lack of customer consideration reflects poorly on this company.

  2. I bought annual insurance from Medjet Assistance in January. Travel stopped in mid March. I asked for an extension. They offered me a 30 day extension when I renew (if I renew). Does that sound fair to you????

    If I can’t travel there is no need for Medjet.

    What poor customer service.

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