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What is an emergency medical evacuation cover?

Imagine being caught in a medical emergency while in another country – be it a snake bite, broken leg high up in the mountains or infectious disease in the tropics. In such situations, medical transportation to the nearest medical facility that can handle your case can cost you thousands of dollars. However, with the emergency medical evacuation coverage in your insurance plan, you can have peace of mind that your medical situation won’t become a huge financial burden afterwards. Here, Pacific Prime Hong Kong discusses a few reasons to include this cover in your insurance plan. 

Individual Health Insurance Plans

What is emergency medical evacuation? 

Accidents can happen, and sometimes they require medical care and assistance in getting home or to the hospital. Emergency medical evacuation cover is an insurance rider – an additional coverage added to your travel insurance or international medical health insurance plan – that can safeguard you in case something happens. It covers the cost of emergency medical evacuation in the forms of, for example: 

  • Air ambulance
  • Sea level aircraft
  • Helicopter 
  • Ground ambulance
  • Flight changes, upgrades or more space 

Emergency medical evacuation benefits 

This type of insurance can include a vast set of benefits, depending on the policy, and can include coverage for:

  • Emergency medical evacuation – Covers expenses of medical evacuation of the insured to the nearest facility that can tend to the injury, and/or illness, or to the insured’s home country for further treatment. Medical evacuation must be recommended by a licensed physician who certifies that the severity of the injury or sickness requires emergency medical evacuation.
  • Repatriation of mortal remains – Covers all reasonable expenses incurred for preparation and return of the remains to the insured person’s home country up to the maximum stated in the schedule of benefits.
  • Political evacuation – If due to political or military events in your place of stay, a formal recommendation is issued from the appropriate authorities for the insured to leave the country, the emergency medical evacuation will cover all reasonable expenses incurred for transportation to the nearest place of safety or for repatriation to the insured’s home country or country of residence.
  • Natural disaster – The plan will cover expenses incurred by the insured due to replacement accommodation in the event the insured is dislocated from planned and paid accommodation due to evacuation from a forecasted natural disaster or following a natural disaster.
  • Emergency reunion – Some plans will also cover the cost of bringing a family member to the medical facility where the treatment is taking place, and providing transportation for your dependent children to your home or other location.
  • Emergency Travel Assistance Services – This benefit includes a 24/7 line of contact with personnel that can help arrange emergency medical evacuation, locate nearest facilities and provides support in multiple languages. 

3 points to know about emergency medical evacuation coverage 

  • It’s not automatically included in the international health insurance plans
    If you’re a frequent traveler and are already using a global health insurance plan, you might be surprised that the emergency medical evacuation is not the same as emergency or hospitalization insurance. In fact, these benefits are crucial to continuing your medical care after being transported to the hospital of your choice (that’s one of the best benefits of private expat health insurance), but we recommend that you check whether the medical evacuation is included in your table of benefits and if it’s not, to include it.

  • Medical evacuation benefit included in standard travel insurance plans can be not sufficient
    Travel insurance usually protects travelers from loss due to trip cancelations, lost baggage, medical expenses and also some medical evacuation expenses. The medical evacuation benefit included in travel insurance policies, however,  usually only pays for transport to the nearest appropriate medical facility – meaning that your travel insurance company decides where you go for treatment.
  • Medical evacuation is expensive
    When a patient needs medical evacuation, he or she contacts a specialized company that offers such services, or their insurance provider to arrange for emergency transportation. According to data from one of our insurance partners, AXA insurance, medical emergency evacuation from Nice to Paris cost the company 15,342 USD, and another example from China to Singapore cost a whopping 107,041 USD. Therefore, ensuring that you have the right coverage in place, with high enough policy limits is crucial to safeguarding not only your health but also your wallet.

How to buy medical evacuation insurance

Usually, emergency medical evacuation is a part of either a travel insurance plan or global health insurance plans. Most of the major health insurance companies such as Aetna health insurance, Allianz health insurance, Axa health insurance, Bupa health insurance, and Cigna Hong Kong offer these benefits in their plans. 

The best advice we can give is to compare health insurance in Hong Kong, preferably with the help of experienced insurance consultants, such as those working at Pacific Prime Hong Kong.

Contact us to receive health insurance quotations and professional plan comparison based on your needs and budget, that include emergency evacuation coverage. 

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Elwira Skrybus is a content writer at Pacific Prime. In her everyday work, she is utilizing her previous social media and branding experience to create informative articles, guides, and reports to help our readers simplify the sometimes-puzzling world of international health insurance.

When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!