It’ll Never Happen To Me…

Well, that’s what we’d all like to think.
Medical assistance while on vacation in the USA can be tricky, but not…terrible.
Yet, if you have a family member with any kind of special condition or you have a doctor, or specialist, back home must use, then you need to starting thinking of a contingency plan if something goes wrong.

  • How will you get back home?
  • How much will that cost?
  • How long will it take?

Let’s take this up a notch…what if you have a medical emergency while in another country?  Now what?

Sure, if you are in a “mainstream” country you may not be concerned about the quality of care you receive, but what if you are taking one of that adventure trips deep in the back country somewhere…now what?
This applies to the athletic/adventure traveler for sure…possible more than others only because those going on an athletic/adventure vacation like hiking, biking, or hunting, well…you are running a higher risk of injury.
I have a friend who went on a European bike tour.  In fact, it was one of those bike tours that follows (or goes ahead of) the Tour de France.  Well, somewhere in France, my friend was going around a traffic circle and caught his peddle on the ground.  His bike went out from under him and his hip landed smack on the edge of the curb.

*Crunch* went his hip. 

He was done. 


His fantastic biking vacation became a mess. 

Off to a French hospital he went.

Here’s where costs began to happen, but not from exactly where you’d expect.

The socialized medicine of France seemed great.

They took him in and did what was needed.

If I recall correctly, he stayed in the hospital a bit over a week. 

Well, now his wife had to also stay extra…in a different city than planned.

The rest of the tour group continued on.

In the end they stayed an extra 2 weeks.

Upon return home he healed up fine and was happy with the medical service he received.

But what about this: if they had air medical transport coverage, they could have been flown home, seen his doctor and his wife would have been home by his side.

Considering the annual coverage for a family for this service is under $400…well, I’d call that a good deal.

Oh, and by the way…my friend later received a bill for the medical services rendered in France.

It seems the “free” medical coverage only counts for citizens of that country.

Something to be aware of.  Most of these services have a clause of clarification on their website which basically says: We are in the business of providing and/or arranging for air medical transportation services.

So a couple of things on this.  What if the company doesn’t actually own the aircraft being used, but is basically a middle man?  I don’t think this is a big deal.  Medical transportation is a highly specialized area.  The company may own 1, 2 or no aircraft.  If you are overseas they will need an aircraft with long range capabilities.  Anyway, I just wanted to point this out.

Some of the services we are aware of are: