Emergency Medical Evacuation
Emergency medical evacuation coverage is designed to provide for transportation expenses that result when an insured traveler who is seriously ill or injured and who must be transported to a hospital either at or near their trips destination or to their return destination. In addition it is designed to provide "repatriation" coverage in the event the insured traveler dies while on a trip and their remains need to be returned to the USA.
What to expect at the claim time
Travel insurance companies employ "travel assistance" companies to act as the gatekeeper for this benefit. As a gatekeeper they have to pre-approve all travel arrangements - except those where time is critical and it is not possible to contact them. These assistance companies are experts in transporting critical patients and have to consider the safety of the traveler and accessibility when making decisions. Decisions are made by them by consulting with the treating physician. Because they are the "gatekeeper" you must call them before making or committing to any evacuation plans. When you buy your coverage the insurance company will provide you with a 24/7 emergency assistance number that you must use.
NOTE: Emergency medical evacuation coverage is subject to the policy limit shown on your plan. Losses for this coverage can be extremely high and in some cases might exceed your policy limit in which case you will be responsible for the excess. The vast majority of evacuations are relatively inexpensive however, in the worst case expenses can easily exceed $100,000 for evacuations from Europe to the East Coast or from Asia to the West Coast. Avoid being under insured by buying a plan that provides adequate coverage.