Dealing with a Medical Emergency During an Overseas Trip

Updated on July 30, 2020

The possibility of being taken ill or having an accident while on vacation is something most people are aware of, and it is why they have travel insurance. However, this is more likely to happen the older people are and senior citizens are generally very aware of needing adequate coverage in case they find themselves needing medical attention and having to get home while they are still not 100%.

Basic travel insurance usually covers things such as lost luggage, canceled flights, and provides some medical coverage. Often the medical coverage is not enough if medical repatriation or evacuation is needed.

Medical Repatriation Explained

Medical repatriation coverage is needed to pay the cost of returning home from a trip abroad if you become ill or are involved in an accident. Your normal travel insurance will usually cover the cost of emergency medical treatment, and that is a must because in some countries, they will not treat you unless they know their bills will be paid, no matter how ill or badly injured you are.

If, for instance, you were taken ill on a trip to Europe and your medical expenses were covered, the next question you need to ask yourself is how you will pay for your journey home. Many cases of medical repatriation do not involve specialized medical staff, but it is always a possibility that you will need extra care on the flights back home.

Most cases of medical repatriation are people traveling home to recover from a medical situation they have found themselves in while abroad, but it can also be used for vacations in differing states of the USA, as this situation could also arise.

Medical Evacuation Explained

Medical evacuation occurs when someone has been involved in an accident or natural disaster. It is the process of moving patients to the nearest medical facility or between medical facilities if specialized treatment is needed.

The cost of moving someone in a helicopter, for example, can be many thousands of dollars. The medical treatment you need may well be covered by your basic travel insurance, but these transportation costs won’t be. Medical evacuation coverage is meant just to pay for the transport costs, not your medical bills.

The Importance of Adequate Coverage

It is easy to think that you are healthy and will not become ill while away, or that accidents only happen to other people. Especially as people age, this way of thinking could end up costing them their life savings in travel costs and the help they need to get home or to the appropriate medical facility.

Most people travel abroad without illness or mishap of any sort, but if you happen to be one of the few that does need medical repatriation or medical evacuation, you will be pleased you paid the extra to have the coverage in place. Having adequate coverage for all possibilities will let you relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about ‘what if’s’.


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