If I could only pack ONE thing. Just 1… what would it be?
No question about it. Peace of mind that if something happens, I can come home to my family, friends, and most important – to a medical system I am familiar with and understand.
Time to renew my peace of mind…
Last year at this time, I discovered the one thing that most travel gurus travel with- (Peter Greenberg, Rick Steves, JohnnyJet, Rudy Maxa, even NFL players). MedJetAssist.
What is this? Many people are familiar with AAA for automobiles. One call and your car is being towed home or to the shop for free. How about something like this for our bodies? (Cars are replaceable – bodies are not!)
MedJetAssist is a year round membership. Anytime any member of my family travels more than 150 miles from home, if something happens and we are hospitalized – one phone call and MedJetAssist is arranging a medical transport home – no charge.
A medical advocate, they translate my medical history and work with the treating physicians if I am in a foreign country. They coordinate transport and communicate with my family, the treating hospital and the receiving hospital. The decision of when and where is up to me (or my family). How is this different than travel insurance or platinum card or health insurance?
Read the fine print – most state I will be transported to the “nearest appropriate facility”. Not home – not hospital of my choice. Even the travel insurance that allows me to purchase a “hospital of choice” add on, still states that the Medical Director and treating physician decide IF and WHEN. THEN I am able to say WHERE (if I purchased this add-on).
With MedJetAssist, the sign up is easy – basically just contact info if under 75 years old. Family plans for an entire year are less than one domestic ticket. Think about if your spouse travels for work, what if something happens? Think of the expense of getting to him/her or bringing him/her home.
My neighbor used to be a Utilization Review Nurse for a big insurance company. Her job was to calculate cost of leaving the insured patient at out of town facility for treatment or bringing them home to a local facility. The decision was based on cost. Even for those ski accidents that resulted in quadriplegics. She told me about one lady who went skiing in Colorado and was severely injured. My neighbor had to contact rehab facilities in the Denver area (weeks worth of rehab!) and calculate cost versus transporting patient back home to California facility. Think about if this was your spouse or your child.
Don’t blame insurance companies. They are going to look at cost and where insured can get adequate care. Convenience, familiarity, personal preference, even the best of care is not evaluated. So don’t be shocked, angry, or defensive. Travel prepared.
When in an emergency, it is too late to think of saving money. Being hospitalized away from home and familiarity is scary. How about paying for medical transport out of pocket? Domestic air transport? $15,000-35,000 International? $50,000-$150,000 OUT OF POCKET.
And I have interviewed the Medical Directors of air ambulance companies. This does happen and people will pay anything to get home. As a nurse, I can tell you that all medical care is not the same. Competence of medical staff, quality of medical facilities, etc. vary greatly around the world – even around the United States! Would you like your family member stuck in a hospital in the next state? Or even just 4 hours away due to cost?
Don’t leave home without this peace of mind. It really does make a difference.
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