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The Anatomy of a Travel Plan: Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains

This is the second in our series of posts dissecting travel protection plans so you can better understand these often mysterious products. Each post will focus on one benefit of the plan, explaining what exactly that benefit covers and sharing real-life applications when possible so you can understand the value of that particular benefit.

Pretty much any travel protection plan you purchase – whether it’s a comprehensive trip cancellation plan or a more specific medical plan – will include coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. These coverages are intended for unpleasant situations that travelers probably don’t want to think about, but in the event that the unthinkable should occur, this coverage can save travelers or their families thousands of dollars in expenses.

What is the Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains part of travel protection plans, anyway?

Emergency Medical Evacuation benefits are triggered when you need to be transported to another medical facility or home due to an acute or life-threatening sickness or injury that occurs during your trip. Depending on your plan, you would be transported to the nearest medical facility deemed adequate to treat you, and with some plans, you may even have your choice of facility. During the process, your case would generally be assigned to a medical professional based in the U.S. who could coordinate your care with the attending medical professionals on the ground. Many plans also include with this coverage the benefit of transporting a spouse or companion to your bedside if you’re hospitalized beyond a minimum time limit.

Repatriation of remains covers costs to transport your body home in the event of death.

As with any insurance coverage, read your particular policy document carefully to understand exactly what coverage you have.

Real Life Applications

Tragically in mid-December 2017, there was a fatal tour bus crash in Mexico involving travelers from a Royal Caribbean cruise. Of the 31 passengers on the bus, 12 suffered fatal injuries. The bus was en route to an excursion to visit the Mayan ruins in Chacchoben, a popular destination for tour buses. With proper travel protection, travelers in this situation would have expenses covered for medical evacuation if necessary, and repatriation of remains should the worst occur.

In another scenario, travelers with one of our travel plans took advantage of the emergency medical evacuation benefit. Bill and Jane (names changed for privacy) were spending two weeks in Punta Cana. After a day at the beach, Bill began complaining of back pain and dizziness. He later became very confused and started speaking incoherently. While waiting for the emergency responders, Jane contacted their assistance provider for help. By the time Bill was seen by a doctor, he was no longer lucid. He was diagnosed with gastroenteritis, but the diagnosis did not explain his confusion and dizziness.

Upon completing a consult with Bill’s treating doctor, their assistance provider’s Medical Director suggested a few additional tests. They kept in touch with Jane throughout, and after the assistance provider spoke with Bill’s treating physician again, they decided it was in Bill’s best interest to receive further treatment in the U.S. The assistance provider arranged an emergency air ambulance transport from Punta Cana to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where Bill was diagnosed with and treated for pneumococcal meningitis.

 Be Prepared

Next time you plan your trip, make sure to pack your travel protection plan. Hopefully your trip goes smoothly with no hiccups, but if something unexpected does happen, it’s best to be covered. Visit http://www.travelinsure.com/ to view all of our various travel products and enroll online. You can also call Travel Insurance Services customer service Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7 pm EST to get your questions answered and enroll by phone: (800) 937-1387.

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