ST PETE BEACH, FL March 25, 2010 – Getting the right medical evacuation insurance to cover a vacation or cruise abroad can mean the difference between a fantastic time and facing financial ruin because of serious injury or illness, according to Squaremouth.com, America’s fastest-growing website for travel insurance.
Travelers usually don’t purchase medical evacuation insurance separately at squaremouth.com; it often comes as part of a package plan of trip cancellation and medical benefits. But most Americans don’t know enough about how this benefit works to purchase the right coverage for both the trip and the traveler, warned Chris Harvey, chief executive of Squaremouth.
“A medical evacuation represents the one thing that can bankrupt you if you don’t have proper insurance,” said Harvey. “Many myths exist about what this will and won’t pay for, what services medical evacuation benefits provide and how much coverage you really need.”
The questions below cover the most popular questions fielded by Squaremouth’s customer care team:
If I’m injured, will my insurance company come to my rescue?
“Most people mistakenly believe medical evacuation insurance is a form of search and rescue – plucking injured hikers off of mountainsides, or heart attack victims off cruise ships at sea,” said Harvey. In all but rare cases, local emergency services and the coast guard of the country where the person is injured are responsible for first response. So it’s important to dial 9-1-1 or the local equivalent first in an emergency – not the travel insurance company. (Though if you do call the insurer, they will typically coordinate local emergency services to make sure help is on the way).
What exactly does medical evacuation insurance pay for?
Although medical evacuation insurance doesn’t usually execute search and rescue, if a claim is valid, it picks up the sizeable tab – paying for everything from transportation to the nearest medical facility, to moving a victim to a different hospital for specialized care, to the return trip home. Just getting someone home from a resort elsewhere in the U.S can easily cost $20,000. At the other end of the scale, evacuating a severely ill person from a cruise ship in Antarctica to a hospital in Argentina, then on to the United States, could total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Will I be able to choose where I will be treated?
Only to a degree. Victims or their family should call the insurance company’s assistance help line as soon as reasonably possible. The emergency assistance team will be expected to be involved in all major medical and logistical decisions, including where treatment occurs. If specialized care or transport to another facility is needed, there are three parties involved in the decision: the insurance company, the treating physician and the policy holder. That said, Squaremouth’s zero complaint guarantee encourages customer feedback on their experiences. “There has never been a single complaint about someone being left in a place they didn’t want to be,” said Harvey.
Can I buy insurance that guarantees me the right to choose where I’ll be treated?
Yes. A hospital of choice option comes with some medical evacuation plans, or sometimes as an upgrade to regular travel medical insurance policies. Some products by Medjet Assist guarantee to fly a hospitalized traveler to their pick of any hospital in the world. “Medjet doesn’t reimburse for things like search and rescue and local medical, so emergency medical coverage is still recommended,” advised Harvey.
How much medical evacuation coverage is enough?
Squaremouth recommends at least $100,000 in travel medical insurance, plus $100,000 to $500,000 of medical evacuation cover. Most – but not all – plans include some evacuation benefits, so double-check a policy’s fine print before adding medical evacuation separately.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Visit Squaremouth.com or Squaremouth.co.uk.
About our Zero Complaint Guarantee
The cornerstone of our commitment to customers is Squaremouth’s guarantee to remove any company from our website if there is a customer complaint that cannot be resolved to our satisfaction. Squaremouth offers the broadest selection of insurance with an emphasis on quality and follow-up care in companies featured. We also factor in independent evaluation from the insurance industry watchdog AM Best.
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International Medical Insurance – http://www.squaremouth.com/international-medical-insurance