Medical Evacuation Insurance


Jun 28th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Medical Evacuation Insurance

I just read a very scary account of one person's serious accident while on a hunting trip in Cameroon. Yes, shame on him for hunting, but it does not matter if one is hunting, canoeing, microlighting, doing a walking safari, or just walking around camp and gets bit by a snake or something else, we all face unique risks while in Africa. While these risks are very minimal, they are still very real.

Unfortunately, the whole account that I read through my e-mail subscription to the Hunting Report is not accessible on their website, as of yet, but there is a preliminary short article right here:

In the e-mailed article that I just received, the Editor of the Hunting Report, Don Causey, shared the risks of traveling without Medical Evacuation Insurance by detailing the costs that were endured to evacuate him just from Cameroon to Miami. In my case, if I had to be evacuated from Zambia or South Africa to Los Angeles, the bill would be much higher, but for the author it was still a whopping $122,000.

To make a long story short, he was sleeping in a hide in a tree, and high winds caused the tree branch to snap and sent he, his professional hunter (PH) and PH assistant crashing to the ground many feet below. All were injured and only a satellite phone saved their lives. Even then, it took them 3+ hours to get through to anybody to answer at camp (remember, this happened at 3AM), and then it took another 2+ hours for help to arrive.

The author of the article (the Editor of the Hunting Report) was in and out of consciousness, unable to move and the PH and PH assistant, while not as badly hurt were still badly shaken up from the fall. Had anything more serious happened to the PH, they would have had BIG problems, as only the PH knew the phone number to the camp.

The evacuation included phone calls to the US Embassy, small planes, major airlines that required the purchase of SIX economy class seats for the author to lie across on a gurney, lear jets, etc.

The unfortunate part is that even with Medical Evacuation Insurance, some costs must be pre-paid by the injured person before they are provided. But, the majority of the costs will be covered from the onset of an injury.

The author was told by doctor's that if not for the steps that were taken to get him home to a world class hospital that he may likely be paralyzed. While I have a hard time sympathisizing for a trophy hunter, I do ask myself what if it was I, my wife or a dear fellow Fodorite in the same position.

I do not know what kind of extra insurance it is that I had before, but with 12 nights in high season Zambia, canoeing amongst hippos and Nile crocodiles, braving herds of elephants on bush walks, braving Puff Adders and Mozambiquen Spitting Cobras that may appear just while walking through camp, I will be getting the author's recommended insurance coverage:

An annual policy costs only around $200, while for a shorter 7 day period it may be as low as $75.

Lastly, I do hope to avoid any negative commentary regarding my subscription to the Hunting Report. This does not make me a Hunter anymore than the FBI agent investigating a terrorist makes the FBI agent a terrorist.

If and when the article that I was just e-mailed appears on their website, I will post a link, but it would be against Fodors rules for me to copy and paste the article otherwise.
Roccco is offline  
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Jun 28th, 2005, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Nope, I for one am glad that you subscribe. I've thought about it, but don't want to provide them with too much revenue from "investigators". We'll just count on you to provide us with the good bits...

A good reminder that evac insurance is important for travellers in places without good medical facilities. Another good resource is you can compare various options, including medjetassist.

Often camps or tour operators require evac insurance, but only $10k worth. This won't do much for you if you are seriously injured, and increasing that amount via medjetassist or another provider (some plans provide $1mil of insurance...which is probably enough!) is trivial vs. the cost of the vacation, or the cost of a good meal with drinks before your departure...
tashak is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
I think maybe this has been covered before but policies that offer evacuation insurance will only evacuate you to the nearest suitable facility. To get home to say the U.S. is a different story. You must have medjet. I verified this by asking the question on the insuremytrip website.
Louise is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Roccco -

Thanks for the reminder.

Medjet is the best deal out there and for regular travelers whether in their home country or elsewhere, are covered from 50-miles from home.

Medjet has fully equiped surgical planes that will get you to your home hospital. The $200 annual fee for an individual; believe it's $399 for a family is certainly worth the peace of mind regardless where the accident/incident occurs.
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