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Why you should buy medical evacuation insurance

SmarterTravel

It’s one of the worst possible travel nightmares. You’re seriously ill or injured while traveling and you have two choices: go to a local hospital and take your chances with potentially subpar treatment or pay thousands of dollars for safe medical transportation back home.

While it’s unlikely you’ll be in this situation, the risks of treatment in poor facilities (infections, botched surgeries, long recoveries) or sky-high medical evacuation costs (up to $100,000 or more) are real and can be devastating. And for travelers who have preexisting health conditions or plan to engage in adventure activities, the concern is even greater because either circumstance can exclude you from protection under many bundled travel medical insurance packages.

That’s why I pay $225 annually for a membership with the medical evacuation operation MedjetAssist. The company promises that if you’re hospitalized while traveling more than 150 miles from home, they’ll send a medical team to transport you to the hospital of your choice, even if its half way around the world. Unlike most other medical evacuation plans, Medjet will transport you regardless of medical necessity, has virtually no exclusion for preexisting conditions or trip activities, and imposes no limit on the cost they’ll pay to transport you. The plan won’t cover your medical bills, but if you already have good health insurance, a Medjet membership is a smart buy.

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