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What Travelers Should Know When a Medical Emergency Strikes

July 2, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

If medical disaster strikes — from a broken limb to a sudden heart attack — travelers with travel insurance or an assistance plan have a decided edge. Through a 24-hour worldwide hotline, an emergency medical team determines the best course of action based on the traveler’s location and severity of illness or injury.

  • In serious cases, an air ambulance with a medical evacuation team may be dispatched to transport the traveler back home or to the closest appropriate medical facility for treatment.
  • For less severe injuries and illnesses when a patient is stable enough to travel home but still needs assistance, a medical escort may be assigned to accompany the traveler home, providing needed medication and support.
  • A non-medical escort may be assigned to accompany a traveler home if he or she is able to travel, but needs assistance with luggage, getting to the bathroom, etc.
  • Throughout, the travel insurance or assistance company’s medical management team coordinates all aspects of care with the treating physicians on site, ensuring that the traveler gets appropriate treatment, including communicating with the traveler’s doctors back home and with family members.

In Case of Emergency

  • The US Travel Insurance Association recommends that travelers do their homework prior to booking any arrangements. Know your health insurance coverage and whether it includes medical evacuation.
  • Know what is covered in the travel insurance or assistance policy.
  • Find out if pre-existing conditions are covered. Some travel insurance policies will cover pre-existing conditions that are under control, if the policy is purchased within a set number of days after the trip is initially booked (usually within 2 weeks).
  • Carry a copy of the 24/7 hotline phone number and policy number with you when traveling. In case of a medical emergency, seek local help as necessary, but notify your travel insurance provider as soon as possible.
  • Keep copies of all travel and medical receipts, including airline tickets, incidental expenses, hospital and doctor bills in case a claim needs to be filed.
  • Prepare a personal medical portfolio to ensure that you have the most accurate medical information with you.

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