Air ambulance insurance coverage for medical repatriation and evacuation

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Medical Air Service is an internationally renowned air ambulance company that connects patients and health-care providers all over the world. In a critical medical condition, do you or a loved one require a timely and reliable transfer from one hospital to another across the globe?

Count on us for your medical flights! They are specially designed to relieve you of the stress of aeromedical repatriation and evacuation, and are coordinated by our teams of experienced medical personnel and flight attendants. However, does your health or travel insurance cover our services? While some policies do, gaps in coverage can leave you struggling to pay large bills. Here are a few of the most important highlights.

Is air ambulance covered by insurance? 

  • Generally, standard medical insurance does not cover air ambulances 
  • For your medical flight to be covered by insurance, you must have air ambulance coverage
  • Air ambulance coverage is, sometimes, included in travel insurance plans
  • Read your insurance policy carefully or ask your insurer about air ambulance coverage
  • Medical Air Service can organize your air ambulance flight, even if you do not have air ambulance coverage. 

What is an air ambulance?

Receiving proper medical attention within the golden hour after a stroke, heart attack, accident, or other major medical emergency is critical in saving lives. When traditional ground ambulances are unable to arrive quickly enough or simply cannot reach the patient, an air ambulance is dispatched.

Despite the fact that Medical Air Service is not an emergency service provider, our air ambulances are staffed with a full-service medical crew ready to treat critically ill patients and trauma victims after they have received initial care, ensuring that they are in the best of hands during their medical air transport. An arsenal of life-saving equipment is on board, ensuring that even paediatric patients can be transported using our medical planes, private jets, and helicopters.

Patients suffering from respiratory diseases, heart attacks or strokes, pregnancy complications, or traumatic injuries are typically transported by our air ambulances. We also ensure the transfer of Covid-19-infected patients, particularly in isolated cabins. Aside from emergency patients, our air ambulance network can transport organs and organ recipients to a foreign hospital for transplant.

Good to know: Our services are also intended for non-sick travellers who need to return to their home country as soon as possible. They may have become stranded in a remote country as a result of an unforeseen border closure or the inability to book a ticket with a regular airline.

Every year, more than 550,000 patients worldwide use air ambulances. Air ambulance chartering, on the other hand, has its set of expenses and may not be covered by your travel or health insurance policy. Let's find out more about it!

medical charts

How much does an air ambulance flight cost?

You may be wondering how much a private air ambulance will cost, especially if your insurance company refuses to cooperate. In this case, keep in mind that each of Medical Air Service's air ambulance operations is a one-of-a-kind service tailored to your specific requirements. As a result, calculating exact costs may be difficult in the absence of detailed information. Nonetheless, we can highlight the factors considered in this calculation.

Patients' needs and requirements vary greatly during medical transport. Similarly, the cost of medical equipment and medication is significant. In general, the price of an air ambulance is determined by the following factors:

  • Urgency of the request;
  • Time and distance;
  • Patient’s condition;
  • Transport by air ambulance, private jet or helicopter;
  •  Specialised medical equipment and medication.

To begin with, the cost of an ambulance plane, be it a medical plane, a private jet, or a helicopter, is an important consideration. Aspects such as scheduling landing slots and airport transfers also play a role. Longer flights frequently necessitate more fuel consumption and personnel hours, so time and distance should be considered as well. Finally, the patient's medical condition determines the complexity of the medical equipment as well as the composition of our medical team. All of the preceding elements show that the cost of an air ambulance is defined by a number of factors. This is why, during our initial contact, Medical Air Service always asks for your specific needs and circumstances in order to provide you with the most accurate quote.

Is air ambulance covered by insurance? 

That is not always the case. Generally, standard medical insurance does not cover air ambulances. Medical flights are covered if you have air ambulance coverage. 

This is one of the first questions that will come to your mind in case of a medical emergency abroad. Indeed, getting your medical flight covered by insurance will certainly alleviate some of burden related to the medical repatriation or evacuation. That is why we always recommend getting insurance including air ambulance coverage. 

What is air ambulance coverage? 

If you require medical attention due to a medical condition or an emergency, or if you are injured while traveling and necessitate specialised treatment that is unavailable at your local health care facility, air ambulance insurance can come in handy. This coverage may be part of your travel or health insurance policy. Reading the fine print, on the other hand, can be difficult, leaving you unsure whether an air ambulance is a covered service.

This is why you should contact your insurance company ahead of time to learn about the coverage it offers, as well as to select the lowest out-of-pocket costs and deductibles, and also the co-insurance terms that work best for you. The flight price may also include "bed-to-bed" transportation to and from the aircraft.

Did you know that? Some policies may only cover you if you are within a certain range of an airstrip or airport, or even if you are flying in a specific type of aircraft based on your medical emergency.

Is air ambulance covered by health or travel policies?

While some insurance policies may cover medically reasonable transports, in other instances, air ambulance services may be covered by health or travel policies, only if you receive a letter of medical necessity or if the emergency doctor recommends it as medically necessary. This refers to the care needed to diagnose, treat, or prevent a medical condition, injury, or illness, and is only available if you have no other options for care, diagnosis, or treatment locally. Patients who cannot be properly treated in a hospital, for example, due to the quality of the local healthcare system, are likely candidates for Medical Air Service aeromedical transports.

insurance papers

Is your insurance company's approval required? Even if the doctor recommends it, all air travel must be approved and meet the current standards set by your health or travel insurance company, following a review of your case by an in-house doctor. You may not be covered if approval is not obtained.

Is your spouse/dependent/companion covered as well? If aeromedical transport is covered by your insurance policy, the same may apply for a companion or family member. Make sure to first consult with your insurance representative.

Does your insurance always cover the air ambulance cost?

Many people who have private health or travel insurance, or who are covered by their work insurance, do not think twice about paying for an air ambulance. However, even if coverage is provided, they may face a hefty bill as a result of clauses such as deductibles and coinsurance. This is why it is critical to remember that medical repatriation or evacuation costs are not always covered. They are bound by each insurer's policies.

Advice: never assume that a medical flight's entire cost will be covered. If you do not first check with your insurer, you may end up paying a large sum of money out of your own pocket.

Are there limitations and exclusions to air ambulance coverage?

Coverage for air ambulances varies by country, as well as by insurance company and type. Examine your insurance policy to determine whether this coverage is available in full or in part. While some policies may limit the type of aircraft covered, others may choose to pay only the portion of the cost deemed "medically necessary." In these situations, you may be held liable for the remaining balance of the bill.

Be cautious: Even if you have coverage for air ambulance, make sure your insurance company accepts the service you are using. Indeed, if the air ambulance is "out of network," you may be reimbursed only up to a certain amount or not at all. Similarly, some insurance companies will insist on organizing the air ambulance flight themselves. You cannot choose another company and then send in the bill in that case.

How to make sure your air ambulance costs are covered by insurance?

Check with the administrator of your employee benefits plan or your private insurance company to see if you have any medical air transportation coverage. You can even add additional coverage if necessary. Also, check to see if you are covered by domestic partner benefits or your spouse's health insurance plan. In such cases, you might look into cost-cutting measures like benefit coordination. If you still believe you need more coverage, you could look into another insurance company.

Good to know: If your insurance company determines that a medical flight is necessary but not urgent, they may send you an "Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage." The ABN will notify you that you must pay for all charges before you use the service.

What if you do not have air ambulance insurance coverage?

Medical Air Service will arrange your medical flight even if your insurance does not cover the cost of your medical repatriation/evacuation, or if you are uninsured. We will gladly provide you with a free estimate with no strings attached. Our advisors will also collaborate with you to find the best possible solution, taking into account factors such as your budget, the patient's condition and medical urgency, and the journey. We accept money transfers and credit card payments.

Did you know that? You can consider crowdfunding if you are having difficulty raising the necessary funds.

Do you have any questions?

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Contact us

Our advisers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to organize and plan every detail of your medical transfer on board our private aircraft, including ground transportation in the departure and arrival cities.

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