Medical Evacuation Coverage: The Most Compelling Reason to Get Travel Insurance

RN-patient-in-plane“My dad was in need of open heart surgery for a blocked artery,” one woman recalled. “He was on vacation in a small town in Mexico during Easter week when this happened. Basically, the entire town shuts down during Easter week. He would have had to wait for surgery, plus we did not want him to go through such a surgery so far away from home.”

Most of us assume that something like this is never going to occur—either to us or to a loved one. And the odds are that it probably never will. But each year thousands of people of all ages traveling abroad have a medical emergency such as this, one that requires a medical evacuation.

Milan Floribus, Founder, Vice President, and COO of American Care Air Ambulance
Milan Floribus, Founder, Vice President, and COO of American Care Air Ambulance

When these kinds of emergencies occur—and the travelers are insured through TripInsurance.com—they can automatically take advantage of On Call International, a leading provider of health care, legal, and other vital services for travelers. And, if they work through On Call, one of the people they may work with is Milan Floribus of San Diego-based American Care Air Ambulance, which provides bed-to-bed medical evacuation services both domestically and internationally. Currently moving about 60 patients each month, Floribus and his team have evacuated more than 5000 people since founding their company in 1994.

And, yes, one of these people was the man in Mexico with the blocked artery and in urgent need of open-heart surgery.

“We were in a horrible bind,” his daughter continued as she described the experience, “until we found American Care Air Ambulance. They rushed to get the paperwork taken care of and brought my father home the same day that we called them…. They also rushed my father to the emergency room upon landing and relayed all information to the medical staff at the emergency room. Everyone was easy to work with, compassionate, and caring. Dad felt safe on the flight. He is now recovering well. We are so grateful that this service was able to rush dad home safe and sound so that he could receive the urgent treatment he needed.”

Floribus, a veteran of more than a decade in medical evacuation before founding American Care, takes great pride both in the work he does and in the distinct benefits his company offers. “We see it as our mission to treat each patient as family and to help in every way we can,” he says. “For example, we provide bedside-to-bedside service, taking responsibility for a patient in a hospital often in another country and then transporting that person back to a hospital in the U.S. Together, our people also speak about 15 languages, which helps to speed and simplify the process. And our medical people have multi-entry visas, so they can get into a country quickly—without waiting for several days for a visa to be issued. I don’t think that most companies in our business go to these lengths.”

But, if Floribus has one professional wish, it would probably be that travelers develop a fuller understanding of both the complexity and the cost involved in a medical evacuation. “Depending on the situation, things can get very complicated—and very expensive—very quickly,” he says. “Flying a person back to the U.S. from a place such as Malaysia can involve critical care medical equipment, multiple nurse/paramedics, a respiratory therapist, maybe a doctor, and—because of the time and distance involved—multiple pilots. And this is only a fraction of what’s usually required. Other expenses can range from overnight stays to departure taxes in some countries. The cost of an evacuation of this distance routinely comes to about $200,000. This isn’t exceptional; this is the norm. And, when people look at medical evacuation coverage in their travel insurance plans, they should consider the amount of coverage very closely. Maybe $50,000 is enough coverage if you’re traveling to Mexico or Central America. But, it won’t be enough if you’re traveling to Europe. And it’s absolutely not enough if you’re traveling to Australia, Asia, or Africa.”

With luck, you’ll never need to talk to Milan Floribus (or any of the other people who provide medical evacuation services through On Call International) in a crisis. But, if you do, it’s good to know that someone who has provided expert medical care to more than 5000 people can provide the same to you or your loved one.

To learn more about American Care Air Ambulance, its people, and its services, visit its website at www.americancareairambulance.com.

If you would like to find out more about the amount of medical evacuation coverage you might need for an upcoming trip, just call or email us at TripInsurance.com.