Medical evacuation for travelers from North America
by Durant Imboden
is a medical-evacuation membership program for residents of the United States,
Canada, and Mexico who travel domestically or internationally.
If you have an injury or illness that requires
hospitalization more than 150 miles (242 km) from home, the company will pay for
evacuation to a hospital of your choice--even if that means a charter flight
back to North America from another continent. What's more, you and your family--not
an insurance company--get to decide whether repatriation is necessary.
Why not just take your chances and pay your own
way if a serious injury or illness occurs? Consider:
According to MedjetAssist, a medical transfer between Europe
and North America can cost more than US $70,000. From South America or the
Middle East, the cost ranges from $60,000 to $100,000. A medical evacuation
by air from Asia can run $130,000 or more.
A few years ago,
I learned about MedjetAssist after a freak accident at Rome's Civitavecchia cruise port: As I walked
down the gangway of a cruise ship, the shoulder strap of my heavy camera bag
compressed an artery in my neck, and I had a minor stroke. I was able to fly
home on a scheduled airline flight after
18 days in an Italian hospital--but
if the incident had been worse, the impact on our family finances could have
been devastating. Cheryl and I joined MedjetAssist after that near-disaster,
and we've been members ever since.
Other important points:
You automatically qualify for MedjetAssist membership if
you're 75 years of age or younger. There are no health questionnaires to
fill out, and you don't need a physical.
If you're 75 to 85, you may qualify for "Diamond
Membership," which costs more and has a few rules about general health and
In addition to arranging and paying for evacuation if
necessary, MedjetAssist works closely with the doctors and hospital
personnel who are caring for you abroad. This can be a great help if you're
hospitalized in a country where you don't speak the language.
Again, MedjetAssist is available only to residents of the
United States, Canada, and Mexico, although repatriation can be from any
country in the world.
If you travel far from home--and especially if you're over
the age of 45 or participate in sports like skiing, mountaineering, or
diving--MedjetAssist is a worthwhile supplement to your existing
medical coverage. The best deal for frequent travelers is an annual
membership. (Both individual and family memberships are available.)
Alternatively, you can buy an individual short-term membership if you want
coverage for a vacation of 7, 14, 21, or 30 days.
For more information about MedjetAssist, including Internet discounts, click here.
(Note: We receive a referral
fee for memberships that are purchased via our site, but--as we stated
earlier--we're longtime members of MedjetAssist ourselves, and we'd recommend
their service even if we didn't earn a dime.)