Travel writer Peter Greenberg published an interesting article yesterday titled: “When is travel insurance worthwhile?” He writes:
Most people’s travel insurance doesn’t include the type of coverage that everyone should have, but not everyone knows about. It’s called medical evacuation and repatriation.
You may not realize that most health-insurance plans (as well as Medicare) aren’t valid outside of the U.S. or when sailing on international waters. The cost of a doctor’s visit, hospitalization or emergency medical treatment can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
So what should you do if you’re on a cruise ship, hiking in the Himalayas or traveling in a country with inadequate medical treatment? What medical evacuation and repatriation insurance does is cover any medical expenses you may accrue, plus the costs of evacuating you to a hospital or other medical facility.
But be careful, because not all evacuation and repatriation policies are the same. Some will take you to an appropriate facility at the insurance company’s discretion. Others will take you to a facility of your choice, but based on the nearest appropriate location…
He then goes on to mention companies who claim to take you either to the “nearest appropriate” facility, or a local hospital of the member’s choice.
Another company, Global Rescue, will transport you back home in the event of a medical or other type of emergency. (In one dramatic instance, Global Rescue evacuated a number of members from Mumbai, India, to Singapore within seven hours after terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal Hotel in November 2008. Now that’s what I call customer service!)
Finally, Greenberg encourages his readers to read the fine print. He points out that a number of companies restrict the sort of activity that is covered under their plans: SCUBA diving, bungee jumping, etc.
We also encourage people to read the fine print. They’ll find that Global Rescue places no limitations whatsoever on the sort of activity that members can enjoy under our plans. If we did, it sure would be a hard sell to the U.S. Ski Team, the American Alpine Club, and similar organizations that recommend our services.