Travel insurance plans normally include coverage for medical evacuation & repatriation which will transport travelers in need of medical treatment. This could be to a nearby medical facility, to another facility better equipped to treat the traveler or even back to the traveler’s home. The method of evacuation could be a ground ambulance, air lift or a commercial flight. This benefit also provides coverage for repatriation of remains, that is, transporting a deceased traveler back home. The following is a MEDEX case study where repatriation services were needed.
In cases where the patient does not recover, MEDEX can still provide invaluable assistance to a family and employer in their time of need. Certainly this was true in the case of a 42-year-old technology company vice president who suffered a massive heart attack while visiting Beijing, China for an important meeting.
The employer’s primary insurance company called MEDEX for help. MEDEX began working immediately toward an evacuation plan; the heart attack was so severe that very invasive or extensive treatments were not advised in China. Unfortunately, within an hour of opening the case, MEDEX received the news that the executive had passed away. Sadly, the evacuation had now become a repatriation of mortal remains case.
MEDEX Assistance Coordinators advised the employer of the appropriate next steps and relevant insurance benefits. MEDEX also coordinated all arrangements with the vice president’s family, the US Embassy in China, employer contacts in the US and in China, and the primary insurance provider.
The family wished for the body to be embalmed and returned to the US for an autopsy. Despite the constraints of local government regulations and the impending Chinese New Year holiday, the MEDEX Operations Manager in Beijing succeeded in expediting all arrangements, clearances, and paperwork.
MEDEX continued to update the family, employer, and insurance company, while finalizing numerous logistical matters, such as luggage pick-up, death certificate copies, and transfer arrangements with the accepting funeral home in Boston, Massachusetts.
The executive’s remains were received by the funeral home as scheduled. MEDEX Assistance Coordinators continued to follow up on every detail until the family had no additional need for assistance.
It is important to contact the 24 hour assistance service number as soon as reasonably possible during a medical situation. This way, urgent medical evacuation needs can be addressed in a timely manner, hopefully preventing a dire situation. In this case, even immediate response could not help save the traveler’s life. However, getting MEDEX involved helped prevent a sad situation from becoming more of a nightmare for the family. Repatriation of remains is not something travelers want to focus on, but having the right coverage will keep family members from being stuck with the expenses of having their deceased loved ones returned to them.