Healthcare while traveling in Europe?

Oct 18th, 2007, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,459
Hi Rex,

>...MedJetAssist does offer a program ...that enables the evacuation to be undertaken at the member's discretion, not at the discretion of the company ...

Under "Rules and Regulations" it says:
"All arrangements for medical evacuation and repatriation must be made by MedjetAssist. Because MedjetAssist is an assistance program and not an insurance plan, we will not reimburse members for expenses they incur on their own. Decisions regarding urgency of the case, the best timing and the most suitable means of transportation will be made by the
*** MedjetAssist medical department *** after consulting with the local attending physician and the receiving physician.

Emphasis mine.

ira is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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>Since they didn't know if or when he would regain consciousness, a medical evacuation back to Canada made sense, and he was home--still unconscious--within a couple of weeks.<

Could that be because it is easier to evacuate a comatose patient than to repatriate the remains?

ira is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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..actually, medical evcuation from Europe to N.A. is not as rare as you may think- ex as pointed out a person with a devistating head injury or other neurological catastrophe is shipped as he/she cant be shipped comercial and conv. will be long..same thing with a spinal cord injury. Pts occ will be diagnosed overseas with a tumor and though initial Rx can easily begun in Europe the pt may not be well enough to fly commercial to return home to continue therapy..burn again are an issue. These things are rare but when they occur the cost emotionally and financially to a family is huge.
travelbunny is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Ira: Yes.
grapes is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Two medical incidents have happened to me while in Europe, unfortunately. First of all, I fractured my knee whilst on our first day of vacation in Rome several years ago. I was terrified of flying back (long flight+pain+unable to bend my leg) but it worked out fine.

Secondly, I sufferd a miscarriage at an airport.

Both of these incidents required health care including medications and seeing physicians and radiologists in foreign countries. It is cliche, I know, but you never think this type of thing would happen but it does, when you least expect it. When in Rome it was next to impossible to track down a taxi and I was in agony. We got taken to the hospital but it was not a quick trip, that's for sure. At the airport I had to track down security who then took me to the medics.

It is amazing what a person can do and endure when something so drastic happens but now I always make a point of noting where health care services are located in relation to where we visit.
travel2live is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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<< Does anyone know of a single documented example of a US insurance company actually forking out for medevac from western Europe... >>

So, my conclusion is that so far, no one has ever heard of such a benefit actually being extended.

Does anyone dare venture what exactly is the ratio of paying policyholders for every one evacuee?

1000 to 1? $225,000 income for what payout?


rex is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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Ira - That is quite different than what you posted earlier about the doctors having to agree on care. It's just saying they are deciding the best transport option which I guess could mean private medjet or commercial or anything inbetween and that they will consult the doctors as to which transport would be best.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 18th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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when we were in Paris a year ago, my DS needed to see a doctor - he had to get some shots (details in my trip report April '06). We had the name of one doctor, a pediatrician, and went to the Pasteur Institute for the second shot (he was bitten by a fox the day before we left and needed rabies shots). I found both doctors and all the related personel to be WONDERFUL! I was a nervous wreck, and they took care of me, and my DS. MY DS said that the shot that he got from the first doctor was the best he had ever been given - he did not feel it. We couldn't go to her for the second since she was leaving on vacation, but the Pasteur Institute was wonderful also, and historic since that's where the rabies vaccine was first developed. Now, these were relatively minor medical problems, I can't vouch for anything serious, but the whole experience couldn't have been better, and easier. And, it was CHEAP! thought about going to the American Hospital in Paris, but decided against it, since I speak good French and it is supposed to be very expensive, and it just didn't seem necessary. But, if you prefer, that would be a good option. I can't speak for Italy, and of course you wouldn't have the language problem in England, but I found that people were very, very helpful.
BTW, we had the serum needed for the shots, just needed it to be injected. We had a prescription, in English, but all the doctors took my word for it when I said what it was.
I would ask in my hotel, or the Embassy or Consulate for the name of a doctor. But, if your experience is anything like mine, I wouldn't worry a bit.
Momliz is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 10:23 PM
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Despite the rarety of medical evacuation to the US, I'd still get travel insurance if I were travelling so far, as you never know what might happen.

One of my relatives was visiting the UK from Australia, had a heart attack, and was here for an additional 5 weeks. Of course, his treatment was free on the NHS, but the insurance paid for his wife's hotel costs so she could stay here with him, and for their new (standard) flights home as their original ones were not transferrable to another date. Without the insurance she would have had to go home without him and they would have been out of pocket.
nona1 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 12:21 AM
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I think that the above makes more sense if you remeber that insurance companies do things for financial reasons, not for health reasons.
Medevac is quite common for Canadians wintering in Florida. Why? Because it is cheaper for the insurance companies than paying for US medical procedures. We know of a case where an air ambulance with a doctor and nurse was used and the family members were taken as well. (Medevac is often provided for Canadians by the same insurance company that insures for out-of-Province insurance).
I suspect it is more economical to leave a person under medical care in Europe than to air ambulance them home.
robjame is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 05:02 AM
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Buy trip insurance. I guess not now. You will probably find the healthcare as good or better than ours and cheaper.
Gretchen is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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Hi KY,

>..***urgency*** of the case, the ***best timing*** and the ***most suitable*** means of transportation... are all up to the Medevac people.

You might think that you have an immediate need to be flown home in a specially equipped plane.

They might think that a few weeks under hospital and transition care will have you fit to go home in cattle class.

ira is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Ira - I think we would have to see the actual policy/agreement with the fine print where it must be spelled out what urgency means and how it is determined.

A few years ago I took an adult diabetic to Italy and arranged for her to purchase travel health insurance that covered pre-existing conditions as her own insurance would not cover outside the US. I called multiple travel insurance companies and all were happy to send actual policies for me to read before purchase. I'm sure Medjet would also if anyone is interested.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 19th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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Hi KY,

>I think we would have to see the actual policy/agreement with the fine print where it must be spelled out what urgency means and how it is determined. <

Ay, that's the rub.

ira is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Re: Rex's specific question and the topic in general

We have older friends, American as it happens, who found themselves in a Medevac-potential situation.

They were recently retired and doing a leisurely jaunt through off-season Europe about 5 years ago. He broke his leg and injured his back while skiing in Austria. They had the insurance with the Medivac clause as they were planning on going 'round the world. They went through the process of the doctors' consultation and as there was no medical necessity to move him, they remained in Austria.

She received some sort of stipend for staying on(which was probably WAY less financially onerous for the insurer). They both came home when he was comfortable enough to fly. I believe it was about 6 weeks. I do know he was there long enough to become fluent-he was very proud of his sensible use of time and boasted about it. They went on to finish their trip two years later.

I wondered if the fact they were retirees and could afford, in both senses of the word, the extra time in Europe, made a difference in the decision?
LJ is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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I think there was one post on Fodors about someone who had been medically evacuated and used insurance for that. It was a car accident or something really bad, as I recall, and the guy was really laid up with a lot of broken limbs and stuff. I think that post was on Fodors.

I work as a consultant to the insurance industry and the loss ratio or combined ratio (which indicates profit) for those type of services isn't that easy to find. Medevac is privately owned, I believe, so they aren't going to tell you. I don't have data from other insurers that break that out specifically, just general stats for health insurance as a whole -- you might find that for travel insurance, also.

So it could well be below average for the insurance industry, but I think people can assume it is a rare event and the insurer is making a profit. That's pretty obvious. That doesn't really cost that much as it's part of your general travel policy, and most of that expensive is for the trip cancellation or delay, etc. problems, not the health insurance so much. Medjet is another story, I don't know anything about them specifically. Medical malpractice insurance is pretty profitable, for example, homeowners and automobile insurance in the middle, and individual health policies amont the least profitable. That doesn't mean companies aren't making money, of course they are, at least in the US or they wouldn't do it. I've seen stats that insurers make about a 5-10 pct profit on accident and health insurance policies.

But I don't think that's really the point, as I said, as to why people buy them. I also would not expect a written policy to define that well what urgent means, it is sort of a subjective term. Lots of terms in insurance can't be defined exactly. For example, some insurers deny emergency room claims a lot, saying it wasn't an emergency. This is a big problem in the US, as it is used a lot simply for people who don't have insurance, and it costs the public a fortune. So it is a valid thing for an insurer not to want to pay for mis-use of the ER, but some insurers are abusive and deny almost anything. So that standard is often something like it is covered if a reasonable person would think it likely to be a real emergency (or something like that). IN any case, it is fairly subjective how that is determined, and it can ultimately be decided by the courts if someone sues the insurer for denitals. They deserve it in a lot of cases.

I don't work for private insurers, I work for nonprofits, advocacy groups, and government insurers, and partly it's because I just enjoy that work more as a lot of private insurers in the US really bother me with their policies and what they do to clients, which I see too often. I also know too well how incompetent a lot of their employees doing some of these things are.
Christina is offline  
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