Choosing an international medical insurance plan to cover you and your family while you work abroad as an expat can be challenging. There are many options to consider, from the level of inpatient care if you need a hospital visit, to whether to include your dental check-up. One vital consideration is, does your plan includes medical evacuation insurance?
Medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of travel to the nearest suitable medical facility if treatment is not available locally.
What is the difference between medical evacuation insurance and medical repatriation insurance?
In simple terms, medical repatriation covers the cost of return to your home country for treatment whereas medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of travelling to a nearby country for appropriate treatment. Many international health insurance plans provide both but is essential to confirm this if returning home is important to you.
Why do expats need medical evacuation insurance?
Although you may feel like the city or country in which you are working is a home away from home, there are instances where medical evacuation insurance may become critical:
Uncertainty around care
If you are travelling to an underdeveloped or unstable country where medical facilities may be limited, or basic, medical expatriate insurance can ensure you get the treatment you need in a nearby city or country.
Emergency care may be available locally, but, if your illness or injury involves a significant amount of recuperation time and rehabilitation, you may wish to go elsewhere to ensure you have access to the best medical care to aid your recovery.
Although you may feel comfortable speaking in the local language on a day to day basis, things can be more difficult when discussing medical issues. Medical repatriation insurance may be helpful for certain countries, where the penetration of English, Spanish or other common expat languages is not as high as in nearby destinations.
Costs and bureaucracy
Finally, if you do need medical evacuation and don’t have insurance, costs are extremely high, often in the tens of thousands of euros. Having an insurance company to cover this is critical for most expats. Another consideration is the bureaucracy associated with traveling to another country for treatment, as you will most likely require an emergency visa. Arranging this in the short turnaround times of a medical emergency can be very difficult. Most international health insurance providers will have a good network of medical partners located across the world, so this isn’t a barrier to treatment.
Avoid additional stress at a difficult time, when you or someone close to you is suffering by illness or injury, by ensuring your international health insurance includes medical evacuation insurance.