Getting sick overseas can be expensive—Very Expensive. Let's say you have a heart attack while vacationing on a small island in the Caribbean, but the hospital can't put in a stent; or you need complex, major surgery after an accident. You'll need an air ambulance ASAP. Without a medical evacuation (Medevac) policy, you'll have to pay "up-front" thousands of dollars. For example, I had a client in my Travel Clinic who required emergency surgery in the Grenadines, but then had to be flown to Miami two days later for further treatment. The cost? $55,000! But he was lucky. He had purchased a Medevac policy from International SOS. All he spent was about $100 to cover the one-week trip. Even with a pre-existing condition, medical evacuation (but not the hospital bill) was covered.
I just got a quote from SOS for myself and my wife for a 2-week trip to French Polynesia. There was no age limitation. The cost? $276 after the 20% discount available through my Travel Clinic (feel free to ask me about the discount).
But what other options are there for 2-weeks for two people in Bora-Bora? A good policy at a lesser price ($149) is available from GoNomad. It will pay up to $300,000 for Medevac and $100,000 for hospital costs, but you have to be under 70 and pre-existing conditions are not covered.
Here's an option if you're an America Airlines AAdvantage member (but anybody can enroll). For an annual fee of $149, plus $20 for a family member, they have contracted with Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) who will provide Medevac and other medical assistance services worldwide, except that stretcher-equipped commercial airliners are used for any air transport.
I will continue with medical assistance for travelers in my next blog post. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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