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Medical evacuation for travelers from North America

Medjet Take Trips Not Chancesq

by Durant Imboden

MedjetAssist 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 pre-existing conditions.

  • 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.

Our advice:

  • 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.)