Being Prepared with Air Medical Transport Insurance
Last week we posted a blog about medical emergencies on cruise ships (How do you get back home? Who pays?) A friend who had read the blog told me that what really resonated with him was the message about being prepared.
This friend is in his mid-60s. About three decades ago doctors told him that he had a benign tumor in the bones of his left leg and that the tumors should be removed. Doctors did surgery to remove the tumors, but they had already spread so far that doctors had to also remove a good portion of my friend’s leg bones. So they implanted rods and pins to strengthen the bones that were left (the other option was amputation – one my friend understandably didn’t want to take).
Over the next three decades he has had countless more surgeries, some to repair broken rods and pins, or to re-strengthen newly broken bones, or to remove infection. Just a few weeks ago, one of the connectors that doctors had implanted in his leg last year snapped – and he had to have surgery yet again. When that happens, it’s extremely painful, and he’s immobilized (forget even walking on crutches).
Yet my friend really enjoys travelling. Sometimes it’s just to California. Sometimes it’s to Europe or some exotic destination. He hasn’t yet had a medical emergency while away from home (last time his leg broke, he was doing some yard work – he was stuck in the yard calling for help until his wife came home, but he was able to get to the hospital fairly quickly).
But it’s not at all unlikely that he could have a medical emergency – another break or even an infection – while travelling. The MedFlight911 blog about cruise ship emergencies got him thinking: what would I do if I were away from home and had a medical emergency?
My friend actually moved to Arizona in the 1980s because one of the only doctors in the country with medical expertise in implanting the kinds of rods and pins my friend has worked at the Mayo Clinic here (and still does). So even if my friend were in California, he would need to get back to Phoenix to see his doctor here – still one of the only specialists in the country.
Yet even just a trip from California to Phoenix would have to be by air ambulance. When he breaks his leg, it’s very painful (meaning, he needs medical attention right away), and he can’t sit up (as on a commercial airplane). Reading the MedFlight911 blog, my friend realized that, given the expense of an air ambulance, relying on the hope that he wouldn’t ever have a medical emergency and need an air ambulance medical transport probably wasn’t wise.
So he decided to sign up for an annual Medjet Assist medical transfer insurance membership. (If a Medjet member becomes hospitalized more than 150 miles from home and meets transport criteria, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of their choice at no additional cost.) For people like my friend, who unfortunately are far more likely than average to have a medical emergency away from home and need an air ambulance transfer, the relatively minimal cost of a medical transfer insurance policy can make a whole lot of sense.
It’s like the Boy Scouts say: Be prepared.